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Last year I was offered something invaluable: the gift of falling in love with a magnificent animal, the raven. Everyday I saw them, a couple, perching on the sheep fence high up on the mountain. It took them a while to accept me in their backyard. Maybe four, five weeks. This slow approach made it even more magical the first time I was greeted with a flyover and a loud kraaak! that could not mean anything other than “Hello stranger, we’ve been watching you. You do know this is our home, right?". Throughout the summer they became increasingly generous in their displays and I grew more sensitive to their presence. A faint kraak echoed through the valley, behind the tree line. I watched and waited. First one, then the other. As sure as the sunrise, inseparable, loyal. Ravens know the value of play and having fun. Many times, in awe and joy, I observed their acrobatic pirouettes and fearless dives. I also got to know their cunning, when I found them stealing food, again and again, and a lot of it, from the shepherd dogs. Once they came down to the hut and snooped around a bit, getting to know how their neighbours were living. A while later I learned that they were not a couple anymore but a trio, with their young offspring following everywhere. One day, standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley 400 metres below, I spotted three tiny dark shapes flying far behind the next mountains. The desire to meet them up close took over me. Why not invite them, I thought. It had not been long since I had started to discover the misteries of prayer in nature. I told them of my growing admiration and gratitude about their presence, and the wish to know them more intimately. One minute went by perhaps, when I noticed them approaching, coming closer and closer until our eyes recognised each other in that precious moment when they slowly glided past me, surfing the ascending wind not more than 10 meters away. Soon after, the image of a shiny black feather came to my mind. I walked up to the fence, their fence, and as sure as the sunset there it was, resting on the grass, and here it is now, on my altar, so that I'll never forget that summer love. Ravens are seen as wise messengers in many cultures throughout the world, and as powerful bridges between the spirit and the material worlds. Their message to me, I learned then, was as meaningful as simple: Despite all that you have done to me, I am still here. There is a world of vast beauty and deep connection at your reach in every moment. It is your duty and your privilege to recognise me. This was my initiation to the wisdom and wonder of the Raven spirit, that whispers the words of Mother Earth every time we have met since.