Friday, February 19, 2010


Ravens everywhere.

Almost everywhere I stopped in Utah, there were ravens. More than one raven just stood there, unafraid, only feet away from where I walked on the trails. I'm sure most of the ravens along the way are waiting for food handouts.

So many seem the same. I felt like I was being followed. I spoke to them as the day went on. Sometimes they talked back; little murmurs, grunts, sometimes a throaty caw.

One raven, however, I just stood there with. He wasn't interested in handouts. We stood there together, near the lip of the precipice at Canyonlands, and listened together to the silence. No one else was around; the few people there when I'd arrived had all left, leaving us alone. There was hardly anyone in any of the National Parks I visited anyway; it's winter, the off-season for most of the Utah parks.

I experienced several minutes of that desert silence that I love. I always seem to find that silence in Utah: in those empty places where few go, and few are around. The big empty. Nevada, also, is a place to find the silence, but I've found it in Utah every time I've visited.

So I've made some great photos of Raven. As thought they were posing. I did speak to them, and thank them.

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

Wow, Art. In Australia we call them crows, black crows.

One day a few years ago while we were at breakfast a crow dropped out of the sky and fell several feet away from our kitchen window. We went out to check and it was stone dead. Maybe a heart attack.

It's a sight we see often. These big black birds that to me signify death. They are commonplace here.

In your photos they seem magisterial, like preachers, legal men or bureaucrats. How wonderful that you can commune with them during your journey.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

We have crows, too, and rooks. They're all different. Ravens here are either solitary or mate for life. Most often when I see a pair here they're mated. Ravens are incredibly smart, smarter than crows. They're also associated with the Trickster archetype in northwest Indian folklore. And in my region, the upper Midwest, they're often seen in the company of wolves.

11:12 AM  
Blogger prairie mary said...

Ravens are much larger than crows and generally at a higher elevation, at least in summer. The ones around here say, "GROK."

I once made a raven puppet with taffeta wings and shoe button eyes. It's mouth opened and closed, since it was for a puppet show about how the raven stole the light from the sun. I left it behind, but I wish I hadn't. I'd like to make it say, "GROK."

10:38 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

I grok that.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

These are wonderful photos. We have crows everywhere but our ravens are magnificent birds of wild remote places, and say grok too,

11:42 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...


I should say, the ravens have kept following me in my travels, giving their calls and chasing me around. I continue to see them everywhere I go. This trip is all about ravens, I guess.

10:46 AM  

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