February remains an extraordinary month. It is a time when life returns, even if only through whispers. For every journey through the land, familiar sounds add to the light. If gales still prevail through most mornings, precocious signs of renewal become more flagrant after dawn. One hears excitement through the bare trees of my garden.
Blackbirds, sparrows, gulls, corvids of northern kinds... Geese in gaggles or above heads. All so more noticeable now. It is a hymn to early spring.
That main trunk of tarmac that links the island from north to south.
My daily run to the town means a good opportunity to watch one of my favourite birds: ravens.
February draped by their early aerial display, those majestic jet black flyers defy laws of acrobatics. Now they come to perch by the roadside for breakfast. Tarmac offers free restaurants for them and all our local gulls that come to feast on carrion. Some unusual and strange way to survive... Yet their success for survival depend on our rate of road kills, mostly rabbits that plague the land.
Ravens have learnt to tame tarmac. Usually found perched on fenceposts, they reconvene every morning in gangs of three, four, five or six and clean the roads of fur and bones...
They've learnt patience and great timing on the approach of vehicles, and will get aloft as headlights become too near to their feathers. As morbid as it may sound, those muckrakers have turned such formidable opportunists, and their dare-devil flying skills have made them one of the most successful species in our world.
Fascinating species that inspires tales of all kinds.
From folklore to music, their jet black wings do not cease to amaze and awake musings of all sorts. According to culture, they turn devil or gods... In Native American realms, they bring change and allow you to travel between worlds. In Scandinavian history, Vikings came to our land to collect young ravens as means of GPS - by launching them at sea to find land ahead - on their travels westwards/north-westwards.
They are present in so many folk tales, songs and omens!
In Music, as here:
And There, the tale of The Three Ravens, Germanic style.
To my humble heart, ravens remain fantastic birds that symbolise freedom in flight.
Every morning begins with them.