There are so many images flickering in front of our eyes every day; so much stimuli that sometimes it all blurs together. I was trawling through the pictures I have on my computer, looking for one that I needed for a job I was doing. I always say I'm going to organize my files, but I never do, so I always have to scroll through hundreds of jumbled-up pictures to find what I'm looking for. As I was rushing through them, out of all the thumbnails on my screen, that raven on the left seemed to peer out at me, saying, Stop for a minute, remember me? Forget all those ads and horrible news stories and words you've been absorbed by all day, and remember me.
I kept on scrolling and did my work -- and saw a whole lot more ads and horrible news stories and words. But when I closed my eyes to go to sleep, the image of these ravens -- especially that cheeky character on the left -- appeared again in my mind. It was still there when I woke up.
The moment that I took the picture had seemed special at the time: It was late February. It had just snowed, but spring was on the way. Everywhere you looked there were ravens wheeling through the air in courtship displays, jet black against the bright blue southwestern sky. But I had never seen them be quite so gentle and intimate as on this day. They were preening each other, in what seemed to me a tender and respectful way.
The ravens were a kind of greeting committee at a parking lot we'd randomly pulled into north of Sedona, in Arizona. They seemed a good omen. It only got better when we saw the sign for the park.
Secret mountain wilderness. Some linguists and clever clogs like Tolkien (and perhaps more importantly, the English teacher in Donnie Darko) say that the most beautiful-sounding arrangement of letters in the English language is cellar door. Give me secret mountain wilderness any day.