I like ravens, they recognize my face even when I don’t. Once when I lived in Aventura, and I was sunning at my apartment complex’s pool after a swim, a raven was dancing around my peripheral vision, hoping he wouldn’t have to contend with another thinking being on his way to a scrumptious piece of trash. But I did see him. We made eye contact. It was awkward for both of us for some reason.
For some reason, a helicopter flew by. A minute or two later, while the raven was pecking at his empty bag of Doritos and the helicopter kept circling overhead, a pair of cops in bullet-proof vests barged into my silence. They had a German shepherd with them.
“Sir, have you heard anything from the bushes behind you?” There was a golf course behind the pool.
“Only golfers looking for balls,” I said.
“Sir, what was that?”
“Only golfers looking for balls,” I repeated, louder.
“Thank you, sir,” they said, and left. They didn’t say who they were looking for, or if I should be concerned for my safety.
I should be concerned for my safety. But I’m not, usually. When I drive, I often tailgate slow drivers, even if it’s raining and there’s danger of hydroplaning. I should be concerned about incidental rhyming in my writing. It’s often a sign of carelessness, and sounds like a sour note when read aloud.
When read aloud, the King James Bible sounds more interesting and compelling than it actually is. In reality it’s just another HBO-style semi-historical-murder-porn fest swathed in Shakespearian raiment. I wonder what ravens would think of the Bible if they could read. I doubt they’d care. Ravens aren’t vain like us, not nearly vain enough to create God.
To create God you need the following ingredients: an empty sky, an empty stomach, the lingering scent of the sabertooth who dragged away your hunting partner, a fear of death, and a bit of an imagination. Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients and created all the steps yourself, invent some form of language so that you can share what you’ve made.
Share what you’ve made; accept what you’re offered. Ravens offer me theirs. So I’ll talk to ravens and befriend them. I won’t worry what the other humans think. Ravens can teach me. They understand that this world is the only world. They know they can’t outlast it.
© Jonathan Duckworth
[This piece was selected by Sommer Schafer]