Ornithology

Back in my early-twenties (or was it late teens? For the sake of legality, let’s assume I was at least twenty-one), I had an off-night at a bar. I was intoxicated, and I ended up roaming around town, no car, and no real idea where I was.

(Side note: this, in retrospect, not the best idea. I don’t recommend it. Be safe out there.)

Anyway, I call up a friend who’s in college in this town. I tell him the rough idea of where I’m at, street names and such. He comes and picks me up, let’s me sleep on a couch.

Now the next morning I’m faced with two choices – I can either stay there, subject to the whims of the others in the house, or I can go with my friend to his classes. I opt for the latter.

And the only thing I remember from that day of quasi-auditing was something about birds. There was a whole session of biology devoted to ornithology.

I didn’t necessarily have a problem with birds, but I didn’t particularly like them. At the time I was a meat-eater, and I did enjoy my chicken wings.

It was years later when I met a girl who would have rather been a bird. Or at least been able to turn into one. The dream of flight and freedom. That’s something I can understand.

This comes to mind because there are a lot of ravens up here I’ve noticed. Ravens, order Passeriformes, of the family Corvidae, are the largest of the corvids. The Raven, to the seven nations of the Northwestern tribes, is the trickster god, bringer of light, and creator of Earth.

I’ve seen them all over the shoreline and inland. They are loud birds, with a plethora of sounds that they can choose from. Somehow, leaving Alaska, I feel I’ll miss their bird song.

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