Walk up Terrace Mountain
 
    Today my dog and I rambled up Terrace Mountain. It is minus ten outside but feels like minus twenty with the wind chill. So, we dressed warm. I love that we can walk for ten minutes and be encircled, for miles around, by an enchanting sitka spruce, alder, western hemlock, and western red cedar forest. As we walked, we wove in and out of patches of light as the canopy overhead alternated from dense to sparse. Further up the mountain the forest became denser and light could only be seen through small apertures in the canopy: as I looked up through one of the apertures I caught a glimpse of the radiant blue sky. I sat for some time and listened to the rasping of the big ol’ trees as the wind gently caressed their burly, creaky bodies. The eerie sound of creaking, squeaking, and crackling resembled the sound of my body’s bones and joints some mornings. Perhaps the trees were feeling stiff and sore. Some trees didn’t look too well and I wondered if they were weak and weary, ready to give themselves back to where they came. To give their life so that others may live - humbly revealing layer after layer as they decay and ultimately transform into humus, which will generate and nurture new life. A tree knows when it is time. Do we? Why do we try and hold onto life if we are not truly living?
    I closed my eyes and felt the wind rhythmically surge through and by me. As the wind coursed through, making itself known and heard, I imagined it rousing the trees into a gentle sway. After some time sitting still and listening, the rhythm and sounds of the wind likened to that of the sea: the initial swell, furious, roar as the waves break on the shore...then the cavernous decrescendo as the waves roll up on to the shore and recede back to whence they came...then stillness ensuing until the next surge heaves it’s almighty weight onshore.  Then - cr-r-ruck, cr-r-ruck, cr-r-ruck - raven commanded from above, with her piercing urgency - cr-r-ruck, cr-r-ruck, cr-r-ruck - all the while whooshing her wings with fierce intent and repetitiously bellowing her call from high above. I felt her authority and began to sense why Raven (Ganada in Tsimshianic language) is a very prominent and powerful symbol for the Nisga’a people who have lived in this region for hundreds of years.  
“The Nisga’a have many stories about Raven, a prominent supernatural being who could change form. Raven would appear in different villages in different guises animal, human or bird and through his inherent curiosity or sense of mischief, alter the circumstances present in that village. According to Nisga’a legend, it was Raven who brought light to this world” (Rose, n.d.).