The Ravens

As I've probably explained before, I really like the ravens here. We don't have them back in Oulu, or if we do, they stay out of sight. We have some jackdaws that hang out in the woods near the dump and are a bit creepy. But some days creepy is fun. Apparently jackdaws are also in the family of corvids like ravens, though.

In the Greenlandic mythology, like in many others, the raven is a trickster spirit, while also often being a part of the world's creation. In Inuit tradition there's a story where raven brings the light to the world. But it's often associated with death too, probably because it's a carrion bird and eats dead animals. And trash too. The mythology fascinates me, my current project here is again working with women and their spot in the society, so ravens seem to fit that idea pretty well. I like their role in traveling between life and death, being these creatures that are revered as lightbringers and creators but at the same time thought of as tricksters and dishonest. I feel women often end up in that same place: our ability to give birth to life is thought of amazing but then at the same time, femininity can in many cultures be mystifying and even frightening so women are thought of as something uncontrollable and not trustworthy. Even if were just people, in the end, just with different bits.

Well, anyways. I like ravens. I've been trying to photograph them but they don't come very close. I've gone up the hills a few times, they seem to like hanging out there but they keep their distance there too. You can usually see where they hang out; there's a lot of poop and animal blood etc in their favorite places. And also puke and something that's kind of like... phlegm. I stepped on it because I thought it was ice. But it was wet and stretchy and I was sorry. But play with animals, get closer to the nature etc. Nobody told me to poke it with my shoe.

They also seem to eat a lot of small animals, small fish and then teeny tiny clams. Among the rocks at the mountains, you can find small remains of animals and clams the ravens must bring there from the beach and crack open.

They also like playing. When I was watching them up the mountain, I could eventually see that they wait for gusts of wind and then throw themselves at it, floating around in the current. They don't seem to have any specific reason for it; they're not hunting or running away or running to anything, so I figure they must do it for fun. It probably is fun, I'd be doing it if I could fly. It's just interesting and also kind of endearing seeing these wild-ish animals playing and enjoying their life, not just living for food and procreation.

I've tried feeding them too. I've put out a bit of chicken and some old banana (they don't like banana) on my balcony and then hunkered down with my camera. Chicken seems to bring all the ravens to the yard but they are damn quick! I was right there, my finger at the trigger when they came but they were still too quick (plus as much as I love Canon, they don't have the speediest focus). I tried to be really quick but still couldn't capture them even half the time. I'll keep on trying!

(To be completely honest, the top photo is photoshopped image made of three other pictures, I could not get that many ravens together in one shot without some magic)


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