Sunday, June 25, 2006

Matters of the Heart

He looked at the raven, perched on its branch in the leafless tree. It looked back, and quorked at him. Beneath, behind, woven into the quork he heard the question. "What will you do now?" The man adjusted his coat, ran a hand through his hair. The hand slid into his pocket. "Wait. And be there. I am hers, as she is mine. Our threads have interwoven, and I will be there for her when she needs me. Because right now, that is all I can try to do. That, and love her." He glanced down, deep in thought. A second raven joined the first. Claws scraped bark as the bird secured his perch. The two examined the man, and he, only partially startled, examined back.

The birds were large for their kind, and their eyes shone with an old intelligence. A hint of having seen too much in too many places. The first to speak ruffled his feathers with a slight shrug, the movement expressing distaste with the world. The newcomer preened for a moment. Another quork. "It is a long time to wait. The time will pass slowly." The man gave a small grimace. "I know that. But I will wait, as she will wait for me. We are together now, and this will not change." A pocketknife appeared in his hand, dull black, and twisted and turned in his fingers. He appeared not to notice.

With a screech the larger of the ravens flew from the branch and dove for the man's face. Its claws scratched bloody lines, almost taking the man's eye, but he reacted with surprising speed, and a small rain of feathers graced the frosted earth. The bird landed on, gripped the man's shoulder. "Good memory. I will be your reportory of knowledge long forgot in these modern times. You will need my help, Child of Man. And I may have need of yours."

"You and she will find one another again, there where the sea meets the horizon. You have told her so. We shall make it so. A journey lies ahead, as much of time as distance. Let us guide you, as once we were guided by Wodan in his search for wisdom. Love is not an easy thing to find, nor an easy one to lose. Yours has been found, and now needs safeguarding."
No longer restricted by clumsy quorks, the two ravens claimed a shoulder each, silent now that their advice had been given. The man gave each a look and then, resigned, began walking. The direction didn't matter; it was all featureless forest anyway, apart from the tiny path he now followed. He would get to his destination eventually, and be reunited with her in his arms. He smiled, and thought of her... and the journey seemed lighter.

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