But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Edgar Allan Poe – “The Raven”
I have a raven friend. I feel sure he is a raven and not a crow, although they are very similar in appearance. (It’s a little-known fact that many birds taken for “crows” in Australia are actually ravens.) He arrived as a strutting young fellow in March, and has taken up residence. His distinctive call has developed from a wobbly, slightly plaintive, mangled caw into a magnificently raucous one. When I’m in my office working, he often strides heavily over the roof or ascends the TV antenna just above me, making a tremendous racket, then knocks a tasty morsel loudly against the metal to ensure it is thoroughly subdued before swallowing.
Until last week, the raven’s favourite perch was in the gum tree that towered outside our front door. I say towered because it was a truly impressive height – both in its own right, and because of where it grew: on top of a great piece of sandstone that sits between our house and the street. This tree (and the rock it sat on) was a local icon, visible from afar, and an easy landmark when giving people directions for finding our drive on a busy main road. And I say towered – past tense – because the tree is no more. Having audaciously grown where it would never have been deliberately planted, out of a rock, rather than in good, deep soil, the tree was at risk of falling on one or other of our neighbours’ houses. And so, it was determined that it had to go.
The axe fell on Thursday last week. I had been hoping to be here to document the tree’s passing, but Thursdays I happen to be out all morning, and by the time I came home, it was as if the tree had never been! Where once it was, there was now only a void. A replacement tree, of rather less impressive potential proportions, had been neatly deposited in the bed on the other side of the drive. I must confess – although I agreed with the decision to remove it – I do miss my tree. More then a week later, it is still a shock to step out the door and see an absence where once there was a presence. And I wonder what my raven friend makes of it all. Am I imagining I hear a more bewildered, mournful tone in his caw?
Although disappointed not to have photos of the grisly ordeal, as a scrapbooker, I made sure to take some “before” photos on Wednesday, so that I could make a page to say goodbye to a local icon and a familiar friend. My tree may be gone, and my raven friend may “nevermore” enjoy its shelter, but I can tell its story and have a page in my family album to remember it by for many years to come.
Page credits: Curled Journal Spots No. 03 by DesignerDigitals. CM PS I Love You Digital Kit. Font: Old Newspaper Types, Barnard.