An Unkindness of Ravens

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There’s a light in the depths
Of your darkness
There’s a calm at the eye
Of every storm.
There’s a light in the depths
Of your darkness.

Let it shine  ~  Dan Fogelberg

“Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during [William] James’s lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified, and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound. Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness – trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain.”  ~  Larry Dossey, MD

That’s me this morning, contemplating the mind-brain controversy, and perusing the depths of my eternal soul, in search of an elusive Light, in hopes it will provide palliation in these truly dark times; or maybe even a vision of the bright new world to come. So, what’s up with you? You down with that or what, dude? Let’s go. No, I haven’t been smoking weed. My desired trip up north of the border to Colorado simply keeps getting put off, but now it’s that the car needs work, so I can breathe a sigh of relief that my incessant procrastination is off the hook for now. The car goes into the shop tomorrow, and I can get some reading done in the waiting room while the diagnosis and mechanical solution are compiled. As my new little friend, a fresh young 18 year old woman, might say . . . well, she likes to say that this or that is good for the soul. Me at 18, I was just beginning to study consciousness, a practice that continues to this very day, and a practice the got an immense boost when the blessed head trauma occurred back in 1984. How in the world can I rightly call head trauma blessed? Well, I have to do something with it, don’t I? Besides whining, I mean, or failing to find light in the cognitive darkness that foist (or least it feels that way) a kind of new beginning upon me, then, now, and always. Right now I am reading (sporadically and mostly at the laundromat) a book, Stalking the Tricksters, by a Colorado author named Christopher O’Brien. I wonder if he smokes weed. Now, moving forward. I just went outside to get a dose of the fresh night air. Temperature 53º, humidity 98%; sweet indeed, especially here in the high desert mountains. I’ve a brief story to share and then I’m going to wrap it up. Day before yesterday a guy was in the hardware store where I work to purchase three plastic “scarecrow” birds, a hawk and two owls. The plan was to use them to scare away some ravens that are on his property. One mated couple has been there for several years, but this year that had a brood of four males. Teenaged male ravens are pumped with testosterone. They can be a real force to reckon with until they finally mate, for life BTW. Now, ravens are one of the most intelligent species on the planet, more so than even higher primates. I seriously doubt the plastic birds will fool the ravens. I found myself laughing at the predicament while the guy told his tale. I love ravens. He then told me that a friend of his had shot a raven that was unwelcome on his property. The next day a group of some 50 birds arrived on the property. Ravens are known to gather like this, at the death of one of their comrades. A group of ravens is called an “unkindness of ravens”. I suspect those birds were feeling none too kind about the shooter. The guy who did the shooting was terrified. They didn’t go out of the house for two days. Biologists say that a gathering like this is not so much a funeral, it is a way of examining the place to detect what threat had caused the death. The folks may have been wise to stay inside. Personally, I think it is both investigation and ritual for the ravens. There is nothing stopping them from doing both. They are very smart. And, I suspect, quite spiritual. Trickster Raven is said, by some Native American people, to have created the world. You gotta be pretty smart to do that.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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