Mountain Ravens

The raven in the Wasatch does not sound like the raven in the Cascades; one is the sound of yellow aspen trees, the other, the sound of fog lifting from the river. They both honk, and so crackle like untended fires, but one is space, and one is movement; one is fields of asters–tall, velvet, yellow, purple–and one is the weight of ferns as they drape over a branch, high above salmon berry hills. Ravens can be heard from so long a distance that they become, not birds, but dazzling colors, their sounds tightly woven into fallen logs and the ribbon-tails of magpies. They claim the mountains as their home. They are not the same raven elsewhere, not from one range to the next, not from one hill to the next, just as the sunlight feels differently in the shade of each tree, just as we are not home unless we know the shadows.

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