Thursday, June 16, 2011

These days I run whenever I can grab an hour of time from something. Now that it is getting light early, that hour most often comes in the morning, before the kids, and all their attendant requirements, are awake. The joy and satisfaction I get out of the run is worth dragging myself out of bed for on most mornings.
Our dog, Panther, recognizes my running clothes, and is always waiting eagerly to be let out and explore while I plod along. The first thing I noticed as we headed out the door this morning was the CROK of a raven. The ravens have control of this valley (and our compost pile) and it
is only by dint of their constant attention and diligence that they keep it clear of invading crows, hawks, osprey, and eagles. We are often treated to mid-air battles out over the pasture. So it is no surprise that they were broadcasting our presence almost before we are out the door.
I blearily began running down the driveway and the loud CROK of one raven sounded out of the mist right above me. I wondered at why it was keeping such close tabs on us this morning, but then moved on to comparing the cold mist I was inhaling with each breath to the hot steam I had been breathing in a sauna a few days earlier. Though probably equally wet, the weight of the humidity in the sauna slowed my day almost to a stop while I was enlivened by this morning's mist.
Contemplating this and other equally inane things I ran the first half mile. Again I heard the CROK loud and low above my head, and this time another answered from across the valley. The raven flew ahead of me, perched in a tree and waited until I had run past. Then it swooped over me again, so low I could hear the rustle of air in its wings. We live pretty closely with these ravens, so this wasn't all that unusual. This morning, though, instead of turning back as it usually does, it continued this behavior for all of the almost five miles of my run. It must have passed over me about 20 times, CROKing every time.
Despite spending most of my run-time thinking of lots of mundane and outlandish reasons for this behavior, I am at a loss as to why the raven kept our company this morning. Panther and I, with our decidedly pedestrian and terrestrial habits, certainly don't seem of much consequence to the ravens. I enjoyed the company, though, whatever the motivation.

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