Soul Food Totem
The Australian Raven, Corvus coronoides, is 52 cm. The feathers on the throat (hackles) are longer than in other species, and a bird tends to extend these when calling, while holding its head and body in a horizontal position. The territorial call is a slow, rather high "ah-ah-ah-aaaah" with the last note drawn out. Australian Ravens are usually seen in pairs. Another aid to identification of this species is the absence of wing-flicking while calling.
This Summer Solstice the Raven brings messages from Soul Food that speak of withdrawal, self nourishment and nesting.
Image from: John Gould (1804-81) The birds of Australia 1840-48. 7 vols. 600 plates Artists: J. Gould and E. Gould; Lithographer: E. Gould.
The somewhat maniacal-sounding song of the Kookaburra is o ne of the most familiar and well-loved sounds of the Australian bush. To the ears of the early European settlers however, its call sounded strange and sinister; the explorer Charles Sturt called it 'a chorus of wild spirits.' The raucous, laughing song is actaully the Kookaburra's territorial proclamation, heard mostly at dawn and dusk. When one bird begins to sing, others in the neighbourhood join in, creating at times a deafening cacophony.
Solstice - A Seasonal Merry-Go-Round
The irony of the seasonal merry-go-round is that, as we Australians celebrate the longest day and Summer Solstice, our friends in the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for the shortest day and the Winter Solstice. 'Curiouser and curiouser' as Alice would say.
Wherever you are prepare to mark the solstice with some rituals.
Think of me, metaphorically sitting by junction of the King Parrot and Stony Creeks at Flowerdale, the place where Darryl and I have agreed to scatter our ashes, the appointed place where we can be reunited to sit, with our toes cooling in the crystal waters, listening to the 'quiet everywhere.'
A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest
Not a bird disturbs the air!
Even the grasshoppers keep
Every other thing is still,
0 'tis easeful here to lie
Athwart the star-lit midnight sky