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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.

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7 Responses to Blog: Saying Goodbye to an Icon

  1. Deanna Emmert says:

    Alison, I love the the way you write!

  2. sistersunshine says:

    Me too Jan, I thought what’s up with my computer that it’s mixing up the p2P site…. GREAT STORY THOUGH! *U* Kathleen

  3. Jan says:

    I did a double-take when I saw your blog today, Alison – I thought Tameka had posted hers again! How interesting that y’all had such similar pages and, in a way, posts this month!

    I am sure you do miss your tree….

  4. Lindie says:

    I feel your pain. We had to have the big maple tree taken down this summer. We have lived here for 27 years and have watched the trees in our front yard grow. Then to have to lose the shade and color after all these years was a shock. It is nice to have pictures to remind us. One day at a time.

  5. Glenna says:

    What a great story and tribute to the tree and the Raven! I hope the Raven adjusts to the new tree and stays where you can continue to here him and see him. They are beautiful birds. Thanks for sharing.

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