Jasmine bounded ahead, tracking scented trails invisible to my human eyes and ears and nose. Fully in the adventure of her four-legged aliveness, she ignited my curiosity about the stories she was gathering up. She had a world of knowing about who had been by, how long ago, and the web of relationships living in the land we were wandering through.
From high overhead in a towering pine, Raven called out. Jasmine ran to the tree trunk, stopped abruptly, looked skyward, and barked in response to Raven’s cackles and caws. With wide-open wings, Raven swooped down toward Jasmine almost touching beak and feathers to whiskers and fur. Raven lifted back into the air and came to perch in a tree further uphill.
Our interspecies encounter shaped into a ceremonial procession heading up the mountain trail. In a series of landings, flying treetop to treetop, Raven marked the path and led the way. Our unlikely trio traveled along on padded paws, talons and wings, and five-toed feet clad in hiking boots. We found our rhythm, a dynamic harmony, made of cackles and caws and rustling feathers in flight, yips and barks and panting puppy breaths, and the soft crunch of dried pine needles beneath my footsteps.
When we got to the hilltop, I stood in the sagebrush meadow looking up at Raven perched in the emerald pine. Raven’s iridescent black-purpley-blue feathers glistened in the light of the sun. What magic was Raven conjuring up?
The brilliant green of the pine forest, the turquoise sky, the golden sunlight – everything surrounding Raven – began softening, merging, fading away. Raven held my gaze. I felt myself traveling into the spirit realm, becoming a little wobbly on my feet. Raven was opening a doorway, a passage into the mystery, and inviting me to walk through.
Jasmine circled in close and nudged my right leg with her nose. She rubbed her body against my calf, moving fluidly like a cat, something she’d never done before.
In her canine ways, she was holding me in the physical realm. With unspoken communication, Jasmine was tending to her pack. She was beckoning, guiding, calling me back ~ like the hundreds of times I’d welcomed her home from her spirited adventures.
Stay.  Here.  Now.



“Is this what it’s like to be a transplanted tree?” I wondered as I headed out the door. Boxes were stacked in the living room while I got settled in my new home. I’d moved closer to town, leaving behind the wide-open mesas where Jasmine and I had ample room to roam, where my heart and spirit felt nourished and free. There were reasonable motivations for the move – making a living, commuting less miles, being closer to friends, finding community.
As I walked along the trails snaking through my new neighborhood, I questioned if all the reasonable reasons were really the thing to be listening to. Could I dig in my roots in this new place and time? Would I ever feel at home? Could I stay?
A flurry of beating wings, loud cackles and caws, stopped me in my tracks. My inner whirlwind diminished as my eyes and mind opened to take in what was happening just a few steps away.
A flock of ravens wildly clamored around. They hopped up and down in branches of a juniper tree, chattering way, fluttering their wings. More midnight-black birds swooped, soared, and circled above my head, cackling, gurgling, and cawing.
Hey!  Where are you?  Ravens called to me.
It became vividly clear that I hadn’t been where I actually was. Disconnected, disembodied, senses numbed and distracted, I’d been walking in a living landscape yet lost in a world of worries and woes.
What are you paying attention to?  Ravens boisterously asked while hopping tree branch to tree branch and coasting by on outstretched wings.
There’s so much magic, right here.  So much beauty, right now.  So much mystery.  Potential.  Possibility.  Remember?
Dancing with earth and sky, Raven showed me the way home.
Stay.  Here.  Now.

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