Raven Mystic Part 3

On the day after Madge the beautiful Cummings Lane gal raven turned down his marriage proposal, Obidiah the raven mystic decided to seek out his two non-raven bird friends, a gull named Marcus and a Red-tailed hawk named Harold, to get their opinions about how he might proceed with his life. In Obidiah’s experience, other species’ viewpoints were often helpful in resolving seemingly intractable raven dilemmas.


Harold the hawk oversaw a couple square miles of fields and orchards and wooded land between Cummings Lane and the coast. Harold and his mate Rose had a big nest at the top of a half-dead bull pine on the edge of a wooded ravine carved by a seasonal creek.

Obidiah and Harold became friends two years ago when Harold and Rose were establishing their territory and the local ravens would daily mob the hawks and chase them all over hell and gone. The ravens did this because the hawk couple who previously presided over Harold and Rose’s territory were notorious raven nest raiders, which Harold and Rose were not.

One day Obidiah happened to join a group of ravens mobbing Harold, and because Obidiah spoke fluent Hawk, he understood Harold when Harold cried plaintively, “Leave us alone. Please. We are not raven nest raiders. We are gopher, squirrel, snake, rabbit, vole hunters. We really don’t want to have to resort to killing some of you, but we will if you persist in mobbing us.”

So Obidiah brokered a peace between Harold and Rose and the Cummings Lane ravens, and thereafter Harold and Obidiah were friends.

Obidiah found Harold perched on a power line overlooking Harold and Rose’s Rodent Field 7, a level acre of land that the human owners left fallow, though this acre would have made an ideal apple orchard or vegetable farm.

Harold greeted Obidiah with his perpetual steely gaze, which Obidiah knew not to misconstrue.

“Obidiah,” said Harold, his voice fantastically high. “What brings you… excuse me.”

Harold then plummeted to the ground and snagged with his talons a big fat gopher he promptly tore to pieces with his beak.

“No matter how many times I see you do that,” said Obidiah, admiringly, “I’m amazed. Will you be taking that meat back to your nest?”

“No,” said Harold, devouring the shredded gopher flesh. “George and Naomi left the nest a couple months ago, and Rose is working Rodent Field 4 this morning. This is all mine. Want some?”

“Sure,” said Obidiah, alighting near Harold and waiting politely for the raptor to fling him a few bloody pieces.

When the gopher was no more, Harold and Obidiah flapped across the field and perched on another power line from where Harold could scan the field.

“As I started to ask,” said Harold, blinking at Obidiah, “before that delicious gopher emerged from his hole unawares… what brings you here today?”

“I’m seeking guidance,” said Obidiah, humbly. “I’ve found a marvelous roost in some fine unclaimed territory several miles north of here, but I don’t yet have a mate and I despair of any Cumming Lane raven gal wanting to settle so far afield. I’m not getting any younger and… well, I’m at a loss how to proceed.”

“Hawks, you know,” said Harold, his eyes fixed on the field, “do not live communally or even semi-communally, and we’re fortunate if we live half as long as your average raven. I got booted out of the nest and driven out of my parents’ territory when I was five-months-old and had to migrate to the far fringes of hawk civilization before I could stake my first claim on extremely marginal hunting grounds. For some months I survived on scrawny lizards and throat-tickling caterpillars and the occasional snake, but I persevered, met Rose, and together we claimed this paradise after the previous pair of hawks were electrocuted by a power surge. Then we had to fight off several other hawks who wanted this land, and then we had to survive months of mobbing by ravens until you came to the rescue. Since then things have been relatively marvelous. Which is all to say, if you were a hawk, you’d claim that territory you’re enamored of, get to know the lay of your land, and hope for good things to follow.”

“Even if one of the things to follow was a raven gal from another society?” asked Obidiah, his fear of Jack Peters Creek ravens inherited from hundreds of previous generations of Cummings Lane ravens.

“Heck yeah,” said Harold, seeming to glare at Obidiah, though he was merely being a hawk. “Love doesn’t care where we come from. Love only cares who we are and if we have that ineffable je ne sais quoi.”


Inspired by Harold’s thought-provoking ideas about love, Obidiah flew down to Big River Beach and found his gull pal Marcus standing on the outskirts of a sizeable congregation of other gulls gathered at the edge of a sand bar pecking in the wet sand for sand dabs.

A large gull, his feathers extra white from a recent bath in the river, Marcus was one of the few local gulls who enjoyed the company of ravens. Gulls and ravens compete for similar edibles and are frequently at odds, but Marcus was a most successful food getter and felt no threat from ravens. He was also a deep thinker and enjoyed discussing philosophical matters with Obidiah.

Marcus and Obidiah became acquainted when they were both young and learning how to forage for themselves. They kept bumping into each other while scoping out human picnickers at the beach, and on one such occasion Obidiah read the minds of the picnickers and learned they were going to leave their half-finished banquet unattended while they went for a walk. Being a generous sort, Obidiah shared this information with young Marcus, and when Obidiah and Marcus got away with an entire ham and cheese sandwich and a large bag of potato chips, which they shared, they became fast friends.

After a bit of chitchat about the weather and the fortuitous abundance of sand dabs, Obidiah described his marital territorial dilemma to Marcus.

“Regarding the far flung nesting option,” opined Marcus, “we would not be wrong in conflating that remote roost with the parable of the road less travelled. Ipso facto, this is a classic example of the artist’s dilemma.”

“Why do you say artist’s dilemma?” asked Obidiah, who didn’t consider himself an artist.

“By artist I mean an original thinker,” said Marcus, gazing at the horizon. “One who conceives of things and perceives reality in a wholly original way. A bird who finds little satisfaction in recapitulating the redundant patterns of the status quo. One who, and this is the key point, goes his or her own way in most matters. You may fail, Obidiah, but at least you will have tried and won’t regret not trying, if you will pardon my use of a double negative.”

“And what’s your take on marrying an outsider?” asked Obidiah, who enjoyed Marcus’s verbosity.

“Gulls are not ravens,” said Marcus, looking around at his numerous cohorts. “If you will excuse my stating the obvious. Every year we roam up and down the coast for hundreds of miles in either direction, gathering with our kind in great numbers hither and yon. Thus marrying outsiders is as common among gulls as not marrying outsiders. Keeps the gene pool jumping. Breaks the monotony of sameness.” He smiles. “I met my first wife Deb in Coos Bay. Talk about a tough gull. She relished barnacles and found icy weather tropical. When she choked on an enormous chicken bone and died, I mourned her for hours before marrying Conchita from La Paz. Ay caramba!”

“Okay then,” said Obidiah, feeling emboldened by the sum total of Harold and Marcus’s input. “One last question. The little beach where Jack Peters Creek meets the sea? Ever seen any ravens there?”

“Are humans omnivorous?” said Marcus, cackling. “The mouth of Jack Peters Creek is raven central. Especially at low tide.”

“Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to that little beach some upcoming low tide?” asked Obidiah, nodding hopefully. “I’d make it worth your while.”

“I’m sure you would,” said Marcus, grinning. “As it happens there’s a grandiloquent low tide on the morrow in the morning. I’ll talk some pals into coming with us so we can give you a little gull cover while you check out the Jack Peters Creek raven gals.”

“Thank you, Marcus,” said Obidiah, raising his wings to signify his gratitude. “I’ll meet you here tomorrow morning.”

“No problema mi amigo,” said Marcus, raising his wings in reply. “Tu mundo es mi mundo.”

Mystery Pastiche


Raven Mystic Part 2

A few days after Obidiah the raven used his mystical proclivities to help Isadora the human move on from her unhappy marriage, and having impressed a gal raven named Madge with some succulent chicken morsels given to him by Isadora, Obidiah and Madge went to check out some territory Obidiah hoped would convince Madge to become his mate for life.

Madge was four, a year younger than Obidiah, and one of the most attractive unmarried gal ravens on that stretch of the northern California coast. She had been on the verge of committing to Halunga, the biggest raven for many miles around, when Isadora’s chicken morsels swayed her to give Obidiah a chance to make his marital case.


The sun was shining brightly on that cold October morning as Obidiah and Madge flew north from the end of Cummings Lane where Obidiah’s parents Doris and Tarkanda lived high in a giant redwood and Obidiah nested on a branch far below them. For this outing with Madge, Obidiah brought a picnic of an apple and the hindquarters of a car-struck squirrel to further enhance his credibility as a breadwinner. He also brought along a gold ring originally meant to reside on a human finger. He found the ring on the beach and wanted to have the beautiful bauble handy should Madge say Yes.

Having left the last road and house far behind, Obidiah and Madge alighted on a lower branch in a huge gnarly old redwood and Madge said, “It’s nice here, Obidiah, but we are so far from the nearest road or garbage can or house or familiar raven. In fact, we’re so far north we’re almost to…” She lowered her voice. “Jack Peters Creek and those psycho Jack Peters Creek ravens.”

“Wait until you see the place I found to make a nest,” said Obidiah, gazing at Madge and imagining the fun they would have procreating. “Fifty feet higher in this very tree.”

“I don’t know, Obidiah,” said Madge, trembling with trepidation. “We’re practically on another planet. Hard enough being a raven, let alone a wilderness pioneer raven.”

“Come see where we can build the most comfortable nest in the world,” said Obidiah, gently coaxing her. “Then we’ll dine on squirrel and if you’re still not convinced, I’ll fly with you back to Cummings Lane.”

So up they went, hopping from branch to branch until they came to a large hollow in the trunk of the old redwood, with spectacular views of the forest to the south and east, and a glimpse of the ocean to the west.

They devoured the squirrel, pecked at the juicy apple, and then Madge shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, Obidiah, but I can’t do this. Much as I like you and your delicious vittles, and much as I like this nesting spot, we’re too far from the creature comforts I’ve come to depend on. Halunga has promised me a pine tree penthouse on downtown Cummings Lane and nobody messes with him when he shows up at a road kill or a garbage spill, so…”

“I hear you,” said Obidiah, nodding. “Halunga will be a fine husband for you. I’ll fly you home now.”

“No need,” said Madge, eager to wing her way to Halunga and be done once and for all with courtship. “I’ll see you around the hood.”

And with that, she flew away.


Watching Madge grow small in the distance, Obidiah felt sad, but also relieved.

“She wasn’t really my type,” he sighed. “Not in a comprehensive way.”

“You can say that again,” said the spirit of the gnarly old giant redwood. “That gal operates entirely from a fear-based notion of reality, which is not your way at all.”

“Oh hey,” said Obidiah, happy to have his feelings confirmed by such a wise elder. “Nice to meet you. I’m Obidiah.”

“Nice to meet you, too,” said the tree. “I’m Tree. So when are you moving in? I’d love to have a mystic living in my trunk.”

“Well, first I have to win a mate,” said Obidiah, nodding to affirm this. “And if she likes this location, then we…”

“Says who?” asked Tree.

“That’s raven law,” said Obidiah, surprised Tree didn’t know that. “First the gal, then the roost, and then we build the nest together.”

“Seems counter-intuitive,” said Tree. “I mean… suit yourself, but if you love it here and you make this your home, you’ll attract gals who love this place, too.”

“Except no gal raven may love it here,” said Obidiah, anxiously. “And I certainly don’t want to isolate myself out of the running for a mate.”

“Maybe no gal ravens where you come from would want to live here,” said Tree. “But I know several Jack Peters Creek raven gals who would dig this pad and dig you, too. Totally.”

“What a concept,” said Obidiah, never having imagined marrying an outsider. “The mind boggles.”

“You can see into the future, right?” asked Tree.

“Not my own,” said Obidiah, shaking his head. “Only the futures of others.”

“Ah,” said Tree. “Of course.”

“How would I even go about meeting a Jack Peters Creek raven gal?” asked Obidiah, bewildered. “Wouldn’t I get attacked if I ventured into their territory?”

“Possibly,” said Tree. “But where you are now is nobody’s territory. Cummings Lane ravens venture here sometimes, as you did, and Jack Peters Creek ravens sometimes make scavenging trips to this neck of the woods. But no ravens live here. Not yet. And remember, you’re all the same species. Same sub-species, too. You have a few different customs and you speak different dialects of the same language. Cummings Lane ravens are symbiotic with humans, whereas Jack Peters Creek ravens rarely even see people. But I’m here to tell you, Obidiah, in the grand sweep of evolution, your differences are less than miniscule.”

“I appreciate your input,” said Obidiah, preparing for takeoff. “I shall ponder what you’ve told me.”


When he got back to familiar territory, Obidiah swung by his older brother Polyganda’s nest and found Polyganda’s wife Jan and her fledglings Sue and Romanulo eating mussels Jan brought home from the tide pools.

“Uncle Obidiah!” croaked Sue. “Did you bring us some food?”

“Don’t be rude, Sue,” said Jan, scolding her daughter. “Hi Obidiah. Your brother went to check out a fresh road kill. He should be back any minute. I’d offer you something to eat, but with these two growing so fast, well, you know.”

“Here comes Papa now,” said Romanulo, flapping his wings and accidentally whacking his sister in the face. “With gooey things in his talons. Whoopee!”

A moment later, Polyganda dropped the liver and heart of a small deer into the nest, and while Jan and the kids fed on the organs, Polyganda and Obidiah retired to a higher branch in the tree.

“Long time no see, my brother,” said Polyganda, who’d had his fill of deer meat before bringing home the innards. “What news? Other than Madge choosing Halunga over you. Or so the gossips say.”

“No news,” said Obidiah, who appreciated his brother’s penchant for cutting to the chase. “Just a question or two.”

You asking me questions?” said Polyganda, chuckling. “You’re the mystic, not me.”

“These are not questions of a mystical nature,” said Obidiah, smiling at his brother. “At least not overtly.”

“I see,” said Polyganda, knowing of Obidiah’s tendency to converse at length. “Would it be okay if we scavenge while we talk? I’d like to snag a bit more of that yearling deer before the vultures find the carcass. It’s a very fresh kill.”

“Fine with me,” said Obidiah, who was feeling a bit peckish. “Let’s go.”

So they flew swiftly to the east and ere long came to a dead deer lying by the roadside. Five ravens were feeding on the carcass, while drifting in the sky above them were two vultures awaiting the arrival of a few more vultures to help them drive away the ravens.

Polyganda grabbed a foot-long chunk of deer intestine, Obidiah ate a few bites of kidney, and they headed back to Polyganda’s nest.

“So,” said Obidiah, flying along beside his brother, “what would you think if I staked out my territory before I found a mate, and… what if I married a raven from outside our community?”

Polyganda alighted on the first convenient branch and set down the intestine. “If you weren’t a mystic, Obidiah, I’d say you were crazy. But you are a mystic and you’re a big help to the folks and your sibs and the community, so if you do things a little differently than the rest of us, I have no problem with that.”

“Good to know,” said Obidiah, cheered by his brother’s response. “And lastly, have you ever in your wanderings ventured into Jack Peters Creek territory?”

“Once,” said Polyganda, nodding solemnly. “Only once. And I’m lucky to be alive to tell the tale.”

“What happened?” asked Obidiah, gazing raptly at his brother.

“Read my mind,” said Polyganda, picking up the intestine and resuming the homeward journey.

Flying close together, Obidiah accessed his brother’s memory archives and saw Polyganda four years ago at the age of three following a gorgeous Jack Peters Creek raven gal through the forest and alighting with her on a rocky beach beside burbling Jack Peters Creek. Obidiah could see how greatly Polyganda loved the gal raven and how greatly the gal raven loved Polyganda. And as the gal raven and Polyganda began to nuzzle and chortle in the way of lovers, a gang of seven Jack Peters Creek ravens came swarming down upon them and Polyganda barely escaped with his life.

“You never told me,” said Obidiah as they came in sight of Polyganda’s nest. “Thank the spirits you survived.”

Polyganda delivered the intestine to Jan and the kids, and then he and Obidiah retired once more to a higher branch.

“Yes,” said Polyganda, quietly. “Thank the spirits I survived. But just between you and me, I left my heart on that rocky Jack Peters Creek beach. And I tell you, my brother, rarely a night goes by that I don’t dream of the life I might have had with Esmeralda.”



Raven Mystic Part 1

There once was a raven named Obidiah. He was five-years-old and belonged to a small community of ravens who roosted in the redwoods around Cummings Lane, a mile inland from the Pacific Ocean near the town of Melody.

Obidiah’s mother was Doris and his father was most likely Tarkanda. We say most likely because Doris was occasionally promiscuous and Tarkanda was often away from the marital nest, so…

In any case, Obidiah was of an age when he was expected to find his mate for life, secure a good roost and surrounding acreage, and settle into full-fledged adulthood. He was not averse to this, but had yet to convince a female raven to commit to nesting with him for the next ten to twenty years, the average lifespan of a Cummings Lane raven being around twenty years.


One cold October morning, Doris and Tarkanda were breakfasting on apples in their big nest of sticks tucked into a fortuitous indentation in the trunk of a giant redwood about seventy-feet above the forest floor.

“I’m concerned about Obidiah,” said Doris, giving Tarkanda a worried look. “He’s five, still hanging out with juveniles, and roosting way too close to us for a raven his age. He’s an excellent scavenger, does superb imitations and sound effects, and he’s great with fledglings. But for some reason the gals aren’t interested in him for the long haul. Would you talk to him? Encourage him? See if you can find out what the problem is?”

Tarkanda mused for a moment and said, “I know what the problem is.”

“You do?” said Doris, taken aback. “And you didn’t tell me? What is it?”

“He’s a mystic,” said Tarkanda, sighing heavily. “I didn’t tell you because I thought it would upset you, but since you asked.”

“You mean mystical?” said Doris, squinting at her husband. “All ravens are a little bit mystical, don’t you think?”

“Of course,” said Tarkanda, gazing out over his domain and reminding himself to gather the last of the huckleberries before the foxes and bears got to them. “But Obidiah is more than a little bit mystical. He’s a full-blown clairvoyant future-glimpsing spirit-channeling mystic.”

“How do you know?” asked Doris, blushing as she recalls her hanky-panky with Zalamagundi the medicine raven around the time she conceived the batch of eggs that produced Obidiah.

“I know he’s a mystic,” said Tarkanda, smiling at his wife, “because I’ve availed myself of his services on numerous occasions. For instance, these delectable apples came to us courtesy of Obidiah because he read the minds of the humans who protect these particular apple trees and then alerted me that those humans would be away for the day the apples attained optimal ripeness. Thus we were able to harvest several dozen of these delectable orbs unmolested.”

“He can read the minds of humans?” said Doris, aghast.

Tarkanda nodded. “Human minds, dog minds, cat minds, hawk minds, and raven minds, too. If it has a mind, Obidiah can read it.”

“Heavens,” said Doris, recalling the many times Obidiah gave her the very things and information she wanted before she asked for them. “Our son is a polymath.”

“Yet he seems to be largely unaware of his powers,” said Tarkanda, thinking ahead to meeting up with his pal Jolanga for a few hours of scavenging. “Gal ravens pick up on that sort of thing even if they aren’t exactly sure what they’re picking up on. You know what I mean? An ineffable otherness in his vibe.”

“I do know what you mean,” said Doris, nodding. “He seems not entirely of this world.”

“Because he’s not,” said Tarkanda, pecking his apple. “So I figure if he lives nearby as a bachelor for the rest of his life, so be it. He’s a fount of useful information, entirely self-sustaining, and he’s a good beak to have on our side in a fight.”


Obidiah, mystical talents notwithstanding, was a large good-natured raven who very much wanted to find a wonderful lifemate and secure some territory and build a commodious nest in which he and his wife would produce several generations of fledglings to protect and feed and educate.

And contrary to what Tarkanda surmised, Obidiah was well aware of his ability to communicate clairvoyantly and see into the future. As for spirit channeling, Obidiah didn’t channel anything. Nature spirits talked to him and he talked to them, just as he would converse with other ravens. In other words, Obidiah was multi-dimensionally multi-lingual.

As for reading the minds of humans, Obidiah could do much more than that. He had the uncanny ability to discern what was troubling a person and see solutions for their troubles. The problem was, and this was hugely frustrating to Obidiah, most humans neither spoke the language of ravens, nor were they able to communicate clairvoyantly. Thus Obidiah was unable to help many people for whom he had solutions to what vexed them.


On that same fall morning when Doris learned Obidiah was, in the words of Tarkanda, a full-blown mystic, Obidiah glided away from the little single-raven nest he’d constructed on a lower branch in his parents’ redwood tree, and made his way through a stiff breeze to the beach parking lot where every morning humans and dogs came to walk on the beach at the mouth of Big River.

Obidiah visited this beach several times a week in search of food and shiny gewgaws, and he always went there on Thursday mornings because on Thursday mornings a particular human always went there, too, a woman with whom Obidiah could converse clairvoyantly. Her name was Isadora. She had a large brown dog named Groucho, an ironic name given that Groucho was quite good-natured. Sometimes Obidiah would converse with Groucho, too, but he was most interested in Isadora who was forty-seven, wore her reddish brown hair in a pony tail, had jade green eyes, and Obidiah thought she was beautiful and moved with unusual grace for a human.

Isadora and Groucho would walk from the beach parking lot to the north end of the beach, a distance of a mile, and on their way back Isadora would sit on the same big driftwood log and gaze out to sea. Groucho would wander around nearby, sniffing and pissing, and Obidiah would alight on the log a few feet from Isadora.


On this particular Thursday morning, just as the sun was breaking through the coastal fog, Obidiah arrived at the beach parking lot and perched atop a scraggly pine tree overlooking the parade of humans and dogs coming and going from the beach, their emotional conundrums as obvious to Obidiah as the need for food and water.

He sent messages to the humans as they went by, messages such as, “Stop doubting yourself, Arnold. Give Beth a call. You know she likes you,” and “You’ve been drinking way too much coffee lately, Sara. That’s the source of at least half your anxiety,” and “Procrastination is your biggest enemy, Larry. Clean your desk. At the bottom of the clutter you will find a story you started writing months ago. When you realize how good this story is, your writer’s block will vanish.”

Alas, no one paid any attention to Obidiah, so he flew off to meet Isadora and Groucho.


When Obidiah came in sight of the big driftwood log, Isadora was already sitting in her customary place and Groucho was nearby sniffing the news at a popular pissing spot.

Obidiah alighted on the log a few feet from Isadora and sent, “Love those silver earrings. My kind of gewgaws. So… did you get up the nerve to confront Jeff?”

Isadora beamed at Obidiah and said, “I did. I finally did. And everything you said would happen happened. I’m still kind of in shock.”

Then Obidiah accessed Isadora’s memory archives and watched her say to her husband of seventeen years, “If you ever treat me cruelly again or lie to me or demean me or expect me to keep cleaning up your messes, this marriage is over.”

“Bravo,” sent Obidiah.

“And as you predicted,” said Isadora, gazing into Obidiah’s eyes, “he tried to appease me with the same old promises. But he was obviously lying, so I told him to get out and he collapsed on the sofa and blubbered, ‘But where will I go?’ And also as you predicted, I knew he expected me to relent and comfort him, and I could feel how much I wanted to because it’s my lifelong pattern to accommodate my abusers when they cry and act helpless. But I stayed strong and said, ‘I don’t care where you go. Just get out. Now.’ And then he turned nasty and said he wasn’t going anywhere. I reminded him the house was mine, that I owned the place before we got married, and he snarled at me and got a beer out of the refrigerator and sprawled on the sofa and turned on the television. So I did what you told me to do. I called the sheriff. And when Jeff heard me talking to the dispatcher, he turned off the television and said, ‘Okay, I’m going.’ Then he packed some things, took our new car, and left. That was five days ago. And every day I don’t see him, the better I feel.”

“Fantastic,” sent Obidiah, lifting his wings in a gesture of praise. “Now listen carefully. When you get home from the beach today, remove everything you value from your house and give those things into the care of a trusted friend. Jeff will return to your house tomorrow morning with a big truck and two accomplices. He will not forewarn you. It is imperative, Isadora, that you not be there when he comes, nor should you do anything to prevent him from taking what he wants. He will take many things, but don’t worry. Anything he takes is of no real value to you. Return to your home tomorrow afternoon. He will never come back again.”

Isadora opened her eyes and said, “Thank you.”

Then she reached into her jacket pocket and brought forth a small plastic bag containing seven juicy nuggets of chicken, which she arrayed on the log between them.

“Oh you shouldn’t have,” sent Obidiah, the smell of the succulent meat causing him to do a little jig of gratitude.

“It’s the least I could do,” said Isadora, rising to go. “I’ll see you next week. Same time, same log.”

“Yes you will,” sent Obidiah, gulping down one of the morsels. “Oh I love what you’ve done here. Freshly slaughtered fowl lightly sautéed in coconut oil with a hint of salt and a whisper of red wine. Divine.”

“I’ll bring more next week,” said Isadora, waving to him as she walked away.


Well-fed, and overjoyed he was able to help Isadora get rid of Jeff, Obidiah decided to take the last two succulent morsels of chicken to his current crush Madge, who might not have been the brainiest of ravens, but what a silhouette!

 If You Will


The Dog Who Wanted A Person Part 8

An hour before dawn, a sharp chill in the air telling of the nearness of winter, Huleekalabulee and Toshiro ate the last of Cassius’s kibble and walked through the gravestones to a big iron gate at the downhill edge of the graveyard. They crawled under the gate and found themselves in a neighborhood of two and three-story apartment buildings, some old and stately, some more recently built and resembling stacked boxes, the wide streets framed with sidewalks.

“The land of no trees,” said Huleekalabulee, sorrowfully. “Maybe I don’t want to live at the beach. I dearly love trees. The more the merrier.

“I, too, love trees and open country,” said Toshiro, wary of this treeless place. “I wouldn’t mind living where Cassius lives. But first we will walk on the beach and then we’ll see what the fates have in store for us.”

The streets of apartment buildings gave way to a commercial district of two-story buildings with shops on the ground floors, apartments on the second floors. Huleekalabulee and Toshiro saw a young woman unlocking the front door of a bakery. She turned to watch the two handsome hounds go by and she called out to them, her voice full of music and kindness, and both Huleekalabulee and Toshiro felt sure she would not call Animal Control.

“I like her voice,” said Huleekalabulee, looking back at the woman. “Maybe she would like to be my person.”

“Go to her and see,” said Toshiro, resolutely. “But I’m going to the beach, with or without you.”

“No,” said Huleekalabulee, nudging Toshiro. “I’m with you.”

Beyond the streets of shops, Huleekalabulee and Toshiro found themselves in a neighborhood of all sorts of houses on wide streets without sidewalks, the ocean roaring faintly in the distance. Some of these houses were large, some small, some old, some new. Some of the houses had yards with trees and gardens, and some of the houses were so large they filled their lots entirely.

“Fascinating mix of abodes,” said Toshiro, looking every which way. “Speaks of all kinds of different kinds of people living around here. And the air is rich with the scents of myriad dogs and cats. Thus we may deduce that animal people abound here.”

They stopped in front of an old two-story house with red trim around the windows and a turquoise front door, a big cypress tree in the backyard, the large grassy lot surrounded by a low fence.

“Now wouldn’t this be a nice place to settle down,” said Huleekalabulee, imagining living there.

“Fat chance,” said a medium-sized black and tan mutt with pointy ears. “I got this turf covered. Move along now or I’ll start yapping.”

“Yap not, brother,” said Toshiro, speaking quietly to quell the dog’s impulse to bark. “We were merely admiring your good fortune.”

“If you like cats,” said the dog, grimly. “Mimi, that’s my person, has seven of those slinky felines. Can you imagine? Seven. Large. I’m seriously outnumbered and always the last one fed, the last one petted. You hounds going to the beach? Better hurry. Once the sun comes up, Animal Control starts cruising the coast road looking for dogs without people.”

“Might we hide in your yard after we’ve seen the sea?” asked Huleekalabulee, hopefully. “We’d be as still as stones and quiet as mice.”

“Sorry,” said the mutt, shaking his head. “Mimi hates stray dogs. Years ago she lost a favorite kitty to a vagabond hound. Only reason she keeps me is she inherited me from her daughter Katrina when Katrina went off to college. I’d give you the long version but you better get going. Sun will be up in an hour.”

So Huleekalabulee and Toshiro hurried away, their progress punctuated by barks and growls from sequestered dogs responding to the scents of strangers.


At last they came to the beach, a wide expanse of sand stretching far to the south and even farther to the north. Huleekalabulee recognized the glorious vistas and oceanic odors from his visits here with Mom and Jurgen and Venus, and he raised his snout to the lingering half-moon and moaned in memory of those halcyon days.

For Toshiro’s part, when he felt the sand beneath his paws, he burst into song.

I’ve dreamt of you most every night

Through thick and thin and countless plights

But nothing that I ever dreamed

Could match the real you

Then Huleekalabulee and Toshiro ran together to the edge of the sea and gamboled in the welcoming waves before they trotted north for a mile or so, chasing gulls, racing each other, running for the pure joy of running.

Happily winded, they reversed direction and walked south for a while, finally sitting down side-by-side to watch in wonder as the sun brought color to the world and the ocean changed from gray to blue.

“This takes the cake of all cakes,” said Huleekalabulee, gazing at the endless waves spending themselves on the shore. “No wonder I want to live here.”

“I am fulfilled,” said Toshiro, sighing profoundly. “It matters not what happens now, for my dreams have become reality.”

Toshiro then walked a few paces toward the water, turned to face Huleekalabulee, and performed a ceremonial dance full of graceful turns.

When his dance was done, Toshiro said, “You, dear Huleekalabulee, judging me worthy of your friendship, guided me here, for which I will be forever thankful.”

Moved by Toshiro’s words and dance, Huleekalabulee walked a few paces away from Toshiro, turned to face him, rose up on his hind legs, spun around in a circle, and then bowed low to his valiant friend.

And as the hounds performed these rituals of thanksgiving, a man was watching them with binoculars from the deck of his house overlooking the beach.

“Honey,” said the man, calling through the open door to his wife who was in the kitchen making coffee. “You must come see these two remarkable dogs.”

His wife came out to him and together they watched Huleekalabulee bow to Toshiro, and Toshiro bow to Huleekalabulee.

“If they don’t have tags,” said the man, his eyes full of tears, “I want them.”

“Me, too,” said his wife. “You call them while I find some enticing comestibles.”


And that is how Huleekalabulee and Toshiro came to live with Edward and Fiona in the wooden house overlooking the beach. Those two dogs, let me tell you, were as happy as two dogs could ever be and had so many adventures together it would take a very fat book to recount them all, for both Huleekalabulee and Toshiro lived to ripe old ages.

Not that Edward and Fiona didn’t have other animals. They certainly did. Their old dachshund Desdemona slept under their bed, their enormous black cat Juneau was queen of the living room sofa, their tortoise Warp 5 spent his daytime hours patrolling the backyard dune grass, and their sassy red and green parrot Buckminster Fuller lived in a gigantic cage in the sunniest corner of the kitchen.

But in the grand scheme of things, Huleekalabulee and Toshiro were definitely the apples, so to speak, of Edward and Fiona’s eyes.


one of the times Rex came to visit

Todd and Marcia perform Beautiful