Traveler's Companion


Raven ATC Swap
by Carol Abel

Ravens were important inspirational and navigational tools to early Europeans. Warriors used the bird's association with death to intimidate their enemies. Warriors also used ravens to practical ends. Much as Noah supposedly released a raven to find land, the Vikings located Iceland with the aid of ravens. The mariners of Ceylon routinely carried ravens on their ships to set course for land while sailing around the Indian subcontinent,

Meet Carol Abel

Traveller, British by birth but living in continental Europe, is in her mid fifties. She recently opted for early retirement and dreams of creating full time. She describes herself more as a craftswoman than artist and dabbles in digital photography, makes mixed media collages using rubber stamps, found papers, etc, etc, has made jewellry, has knitted (machine and(hand), sewn, made mosaics and sculpture. Currently struggling to learn her 5th foreign language. Seeks and sees beauty in all things and is happiest in a natural environment, including her beloved garden, the source of many of her digital photos. Enjoys travelling and is a keen observer of life around her when on such travels.She started being interested in creative writing a couple of years ago and likes to combine words with images.

Raven Sees Strasbourg







Photographs by Carol Abel


The Rookery - Day Eleven

“They change their sky but not their soul who run away across the sea”- Horace

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” - Louisa May Alcott

“I never travel without my journal. One should always have something sensational to read” - Oscar Wilde

Raven’s First Strasbourg Christmas


Raven ATC Swap
by Carol Abel

Raven’s powerful beak punctured its way into the outside world on a bright spring morning. His eyes, accustomed as they were to the opaque light diffused through his birth egg’s shell, were momentarily blinded by the riot of colour that greeted him.

From the outset Raven was enchanted. Typically of his species he was intelligent and possessed of an insatiable curiosity. He delighted in the colour play as the seasons changed: from the first patchwork quilt effect of new shoots in the fields to the cloth of different golds as autumn approached. V-shapes of honking geese decorated the skies of the month of the long decline of roses and soon the landscape was draped in the dewdrop- sparkling embroideries of spiders. December brought the first flakes of snow.

Enchanted by all that nature had to offer he was equally fascinated by the activities of the two-legged pink things known as humans. From his vantage point on top of the farm roof he watched them working in their gardens with the arrival of spring and the placing of garden furniture, outdoor lights and decorations as summer came. Brightly coloured glassware twinkled in the sunlight. Hallowe’en brought illuminated pumpkins but the winter brought evergreens sparkling under their early morning frosty coats and the humans strung ropes of thousands of lights in the shapes of trees, stars and chandeliers between the house gables. Small wooden houses were erected in the main square and, to his delight, each “window” opened to reveal lots of wonderful shiny objects as the Christmas market opened up. On December 6 he watched in amazement as an old man with flowing white hair and beard, dressed in red outfit with black boots accompanied by a figure dressed entirely in black and carrying a besom broom – Black Peter – paraded through the village, the children all dancing attendance on him. If they had been good during the year they would be rewarded by a gift from St Nicholas but if they had been bad they would be beaten by Black Peter.

People came from far and wide to buy their Christmas gifts from the market and to catch up with old friends, drinking spiced wine and eating potato pancakes topped with apple sauce. He perched on the roofs of the little chalets and marvelled at the glass tree decorations in all colours of the rainbows, bags of spices brought from afar, gingerbread figures, amber jewellery, tablecloths and much more.

But most fascinating of all to Raven was the construction of an open air crib scene near the church. Owl, who lived the church belfry and who had heard the story many times, told it to him. One by one the wooden figures, made by the master carver himself, were set in place: the 3 kings, the shepherds and their sheep, Joseph and Mary and finally the baby Jesus. There was even a crib scene with lots of animals in it. The magical sounding names of the royal gifts of Frankincense and Myrrh together with the kings’ names: Melchior, Balthasar and Gaspar, caused a flutter of excitement in Raven’s heart. He wanted to travel too and see more of the world that lay beyond his hitherto-seemingly limited boundaries. Owl told him to have patience, for he was young and inexperienced; next year, after his birthday, his parents would take him away into the big wide world where he would have the chance to see all the many strange and wonderful things that he could possibly hope for.

Traveler's Online Preserving Jars


Just where will this traveler go. Here at Soul Food we just know it will be somewhere very exotic and that our traveler will capture it all brilliantly.
A very special wild garden.
Horus Litterarum
A special Wild Garden project.

An Activity

Learn more about Ravens. Seek out as much information as possible and explore how Raven has left her mark on art and literature. Choose different environments to watch and listen to Ravens. Pay attention to what stands out to you. Once you have done this research undertake to complete a piece of writing or art which personifies the Raven.