Originally published at lucymoore.comI was doing laundry when I heard a raven squawking with an urgency I had never heard. We have many ravens in the neighborhood, and they are big talkers, but this message was a new one. I went to the window and saw it on a low branch about eye level. It was scolding, cursing, berating, reading the riot act to someone or something on the ground, head lunging forwarding, eye laser-focused. A snake, I thought. That is my fallback threat, so I cautiously headed for the back door to get a better look. As I approached, I saw the door was already ajar and stepped outside. The raven was raising a ruckus because our black indoor cat Bennie had escaped and was on the ground below the raven. He was hunched close to the ground, ears back, taking his scolding. I was struck by the two solid black creatures in relationship. Bennie had been headed for the fence, on the other side of which were coyotes, hawks, snakes, and more, and the raven had turned him back. He scurried back into the house and the crisis was over.
This gets me thinking about how we are observed by non-human creatures more than we will ever know. There is an amazing documentary movie, “The Velvet Queen,” about two photographers who go to Tibet to photograph the famously elusive Snow Leopard. One of their most significant conclusions is that they were being watched by many more creatures than they realized. There is an irony there: they are searching for something almost impossible to find, and they are being seen by many animals (maybe the Snow Leopard in fact) that they never see.
Lucy Moore writes a blog monthly at lucymoore.com. Lucy is a mediator who has worked extensively with Hispanic and Native Americans, especially on water issues.