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Ravens, Polar Bears & Off the Grid Living

Updated: Apr 9

I love ravens. It wasn't always so. Being born/raised in Victoria BC I never saw any ravens. I'll always remember the first time I did. When I was 18 my best friend Donna said to me "Why don't you come with me to Churchill (Manitoba) this summer? You can work for my dad." Having no prospects ahead of me and my mother wanting me out on my own, I said "OK!"


Now, have you been to Churchill Manitoba? Have you heard of it? At 18 all I knew of it was that was where my friend went every summer to visit her dad, it was up north and there were polar bears. Nothing that had any meaning to me. But hearing about it and EXPERIENCING it are two very... very... different things! We hopped on a plane to Vancouver, transferred to a plane that took us to Winnipeg, stayed the night there, then got on another plane (Hawker Siddeley) that took us up to Churchill. This was a long journey for me as I hate to fly. As we were nearing Churchill my friend let me have the window seat and said "there it is! Down there!" I looked out the window. All I could see for miles and miles was tundra and then saw the Hudson Bay... miles and miles of water. Where was this town? I asked "Where???" She pointed again at a few dots of houses. "there!" What the hell had I got myself into!!??!!


We arrived in Churchill the first week of July. The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the plane was how damn cold it was. It was JULY!! We then went into the postage stamp of an airport which was milling with people and I saw a sign that said something like "make sure your seal meat/whale blubber" is securely wrapped"... Uh... what???


Donna's dad had come to pick us up. We jumped into his truck and proceeded on the drive to "town". As we drove away from the airport I saw these big, tubuar metal objects. Curious I asked "What are those?" Donna's reply was "Oh, that's the Polar Bear Jail". I had no words.


We continued into town which consisted of an array of houses/townhouses, the Complex (which held almost everything high school, medical centre, movie theatre, library, skating rink) a few businesses, a few hotels and the Grain Elevator. This is when I saw my first Raven. I couldn't believe my eyes. I've seen many, many crows in the city, but THIS? It was huge! That was the first time Raven registered into my consciousness. I have many, many tales of life in Churchill, as I ended up staying for almost 2 years. Did I see polar bears? Yes. But that is for another time. This post is about Ravens.


When I left Churchill to move back to Victoria Raven faded from my every day life. You don't see many in heart of the city. Not in Victoria at least. It wasn't until 25 years later that Raven came into my life full force. I met my now husband 15 years ago after a long term relationship had broken up. Vaughn and I connected instantly and within a few weeks of knowing each other I had moved in with him, deeply, madly in love.


Six months into the relationship a piece of property on Lasqueti came up for sale. Vaughn had been eyeing this for years. He approached me and let me know that this was his Retirement Dream. To move to Lasqueti to live off the grid on a this piece of property situated on a mountain. I was dumbfounded. Leave Victoria??? Forever??? I didn't know what to do. Knowing this was his retirement dream we were at a crossroad. Do we continue with the relationship, or, do we end it here. We sat in silence for a long time. Then he said "would you at least come and look at the property with me?"


"Yes" I replied "I can not judge something I do not know. I will come and see this piece of property."


It was March and stormy and the only way to get to Lasqueti is on a small, passenger-only ferry that goes from French Creek on Vancouver Island across the Geogia Straight. Although only 10 miles as the crow flies, this stretch of water is known to be quite treacherous and when the wind is blowing 45 knots the waves can reach 10 to 15 feet high. And wouldn't you know, on the day we "went across" we were met with just such a ride.





As we started our terrifying (for me) journey across I wondered what the heck I was doing. I was a city girl! What could an off the grid, remote island have for me?? It took an hour of rolling, and engine cuts and people hanging over the back throwing up before we turned into False Bay Harbour and soon sidled up to the dock. And that's when the magic began. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! It was like going back in time. People started unloading all their supplies (there are no stores on Lasqueti or shopping of any kind) and the warm greetings, waves, and hugs showed just how much these people cared for and looked out for each other.


Vaughn and I grabbed our packs and our little dog Angellina and jumped into our friend's truck to begin the 1/2 hour drive along the gravel, pothole-filled, Main Road. Next we stopped at the bottom of the mountain where the land we were interested in was located, to put the truck in 4 x 4 and then climb to the beginning of a new life.



Mt. Cook is situated almost dead center of Lasqueti Island. At the top there is a 360 degree view where you can see the Sabine Channel on one side of Lasqueti and the Georgia Straight on the other side. The view is spectacular but it wasn't until we started to "walk the line"  that I saw it.


Mt. Trematon. The mountain that is directly across from us. I stopped dead in my tracks. I was awestruck. The power that emanated from this mountain almost knocked me over. I turned to my husband and said "You HAVE to buy this piece of property. Today!



And that is how my life on Lasqueti began. And... finally... what this post is about. Raven!


Vaughn and I spent many years clearing our land by hand. Taking down trees, leveling the spot for where the cabin would be built (yes all by hand, all by ourselves!) Setting up our solar panel power system, our rain collection/storage system. Building the cabin, outhouse, woodshed.




It was during this time that Raven started to get my attention. At first annoyingly so as anything left out for more than 3 seconds Raven would swoop and steal. They even managed to get our cooler of food open during the night and wreak havoc on the food we brought. At the time we only had two dogs, Angellina and Baloo, which I fed the raw food diet and it did not take Raven long to learn how to taunt and distract them so that it's partner could swoop down and steal their food. It was during this game of cat and mouse (Raven and Dog) that I really started to pay attention to them. And I began to learn just how intelligent they were. I was slowly starting to fall in love with Raven.


Some things I learned about Raven is that they are very territorial and that they mate for life. As our resident ravens got more used to us they became braver and braver. Coming within a few feet of the cabin when we were inside. I decided to stop fighting them regarding food and began to feed them. By now we had 2 more dogs Bear and Nahla, though Angellina had passed on from old age. Bear loves to eat his raw food frozen, so we freeze whole carcasses and chop them up and toss to the dogs for their meals. By now the dogs had learned to eat their food quickly and not leave it for Raven to steal. I had also set up a "system" where if food was tossed out the front door it was for the dogs and if I tossed it out the back door it was for Raven. It is a wonderful way to get rid of food scraps as we do not have "garbage collection" on Lasqueti.


My resident ravens got used to being fed as i would toss out scraps when I did the dishes after breakfast and if I was a little late in beginning my day, they would let me know. Setting themselves up in the trees behind our cabin and calling to me insistantly. At first I would toss out the food and they would wait until I went back in the cabin to swoop down and get it, but one day I decided to wait. I sat on our back steps and waited quietly. I filled my energy with Love, slowed my breathing and kept my head down. Many, many minutes passed before they left the trees to bravely come to the ground and our Trust Relationship began. It took a few years but eventually they learned to trust me enough that they would come within 2 or 3 feet of me and also would come to me when I called.




Last year my resident ravens disappeared. I had noticed one of them seem to have an injury on their beak. The other raven lovingly cared for it, constantly "grooming" it and cooing. The Raven Love I saw touched me deeply. When "my" ravens disappeared it left a huge, gaping hole in my heart and I grieved losing them. I believe the injured one died and the remaining raven was probably chased off. To this day I miss opening my back door to see them sitting on the step railing waiting for me. A pair of new ravens have taken over their territory (our property). It is strange for me to have ravens afraid of me and take off when I open my door. I don't think I will put in the time to "train" these new ravens, though I continue to throw scraps out.


RAVEN MEDICINE:


Ravens often represent ancient wisdom, intelligence and transformation. They are spectral messengers, bearing the weight of untold visions and prophetic whispers. In the annals of mythology and folklore, these ebony enigmas inhabit a realm where symbols intertwine with human imagination.


If Raven appears...


  • Raven is assuring you of the impeding change. He brings with him the ability to bend time and space for the perfect moment at the right time. He signifies rebirth, renewal, reflection and healing.

  • Change, intelligence, and spiritual powers of higher frequencies

  • Raven is a silent observer of his environment. An important lesson you may want to take the time to practice. Observe yourself, your environment and the people around you.

  • Working with the Raven as a power animal is one way to begin learning the language of animals. Raven knows how to change its song, focusing on what needs to be communicated at the moment. What’s wonderful here is that by invoking your inner Raven, you can improve your discourse with the Spirit Animals who come into your life.


In Light,

Dianna


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