Thursday, October 25, 2007

My sweet friend and nephew, Ben, (Thanx Ben!) commented on my aprons and luckily for me, reminded me that one of my aprons depicted the famous NW Raven...so my guess is Robert might have brought this apron back to me when he visited his sister, Ben's mom, a few years ago...or perhaps Julie herself sent it to me. I don't know. I have had it for a long time and as you can see, it is well worn. I tried to find out something about this Raven lore but discovered the Raven is quite the fellow with quite a few Native American stories about him, similar to the Uncle Remus type stories. I quite enjoyed the ones I read. But here's the first bit that I learned about this very NW icon:



To Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, raven is a magical shape-shifter, cosmic trickster, maker of mischief and giver of fire, light and food. His big head and hooked beak adorn canoes, totem poles, boxes, jewelry, weavings, baskets and petroglyphs. John Marzluff will show slides of ravens and discuss how they use their intelligence to solve problems ..

"A raven has a real strong presence, a real strong power," said George David, a Nuu-Chah-Nulth artist who was inspired by the bird to carve a splendid raven transformation mask. "When you see him he wants to be seen."

In Skokomish tribal legend, snow-white raven stole the sun, moon, stars, water and fire back from gray eagle at the request of the people. He hung the sun, moon and stars back up in the sky. He dropped the water, forming streams and lakes. He made fire available to the people, growing black from its smoke as he flew.

In Norse legend, two ravens fly out into the world and report back to Odin what they have seen and heard. Their names evoke the power of their brains: Hugin, for thought, and Munin, for mind.

This is fitting. While most animals are driven largely by the hard-wired dynamics of instinct, ravens and other birds in the corvid family think.

J.R. Inghram, who feeds and watches up to 2,000 ravens near his Grant County home, once had a pet raven that would turn on the carpet cleaner after messing the floor.

"After watching us, this guy would turn lights on in rooms and turn them off when he left," said Inghram.

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