There are trees, there is snow, and I am lost.
It doesn’t matter how I got here. All that matters is survival. So I slowly press on through the eerie silence of the forest, doing my best to shut the cold out of my mind.
No one is going to save me but myself.
My eyes are fixed on the frigid white desert in front of my feet when a shadow flits across my vision, nearly making me stumble. I look up.
Could this be a reason to hope? A distant airplane, or a rescue helicopter?
No, it’s just another raven. It joins the others who have already gathered, all of them staring down at me from the surrounding tree limbs.
They are watching in complete silence, as if captivated by the drama of my situation. This is their secret theater, and their favorite new actor is giving a spellbinding performance.
I lower my head, blow on my fingers, then lift one weary foot to take a step. Then another. And another.
And another, until the process of moving forward on numbed feet becomes automatic and my mind starts to wander.
Smart birds, ravens. I remember someone once telling me they have another name. What was it again? "Wolf-birds," wasn’t it? Yes, that’s right.
Wolf-birds, because of the way they sometimes track wolves. Ravens will patiently follow along from above, then swoop down after the wolves make their kill, eager to share the carcass.
Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted as the ravens take to the air in a flurry of black wings and snow,
as if they have all come to a silent agreement that this particular drama has become boring. Once more I pause, wondering if they’ve found something more interesting to watch.
But no, they just keep circling overhead as I stare up at them.
Soon, however, I hear growls. Growls that are very close, and coming closer.
In this moment it dawns on me that if ravens are such smart birds, they might not always be satisfied with following along behind wolves.
Sometimes, they might let the wolves know what they want to eat.