Have you felt stuck in the busyness of small-town life? Have you heard the call of the raven as she flies over town beckoning us to follow? They say the raven is among the most intelligent of birds. I believe it, because the raven knows the wisdom of wild spaces perhaps better than most. It’s my day off, and with this reprieve from work I chose to follow. The raven’s jet-black silhouette outlined by pointed wings and notched tail led me to The Pine Creek Gorge, a fine wild space indeed.
Time to slow down, sit on a rock ledge, let the busyness of
life fade away, and breathe. And breathing with me are the creeping dwarf
junipers and gnarly red cedars firmly rooted in the nutrient poor soil along
Barbour Rock vista. The vibrant green needles and leaves of these two evergreens
are a pop of life on the canyon wall today, especially with the oaks and maples
looking so dismally brown and naked.
Looking south-east, a string of clouds
dances between the canyon walls with an elegance which easily surpasses that of
the most skilled ballroom dancer. The beauty of this wild space is magnified by
a flurry of juncos on the rocks and a mixed flock of kinglets and chickadees in
Dark-eyed juncos, with
their slaty-gray backs and white beaks, bellies, and outer tail feathers seem
to me to be among the humblest of sparrows; tough enough to survive the
northern winters but content not to brag about it. They are easy to overlook
but worthy of our admiration. Then
again, so are all of our wild neighbors.
As I rest here pondering, a pair of
ravens are putting on a show of aerial acrobatics, and my heart is at peace.