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overGround:underStory - what raven saw


silent / moment to pause / time to read
what Raven Saw
An overGround:underStory
They are wary birds,
uttering a
harsh caw
though one of the characteristic sounds of the bush
seems rather to intensify than to break, its solitude
(The New Natural History 1926)
I should be so lucky
Lucky, lucky, lucky (Kylie, 1988)
silent, overture plays
{SLIDE – Pause}
“It is happening again” thought Raven.
“This time it is different, maybe this time I won’t be so lucky”
Raven thinks they have always been there, which from Raven’s point of view is of-course subjectively true.
But we know otherwise
Tree was there before – maybe not at the beginning, but before.
“regardless” thought Raven “It looks to me like we will both be here at the end”
Which caused Raven to remember some of the things they had seen.
Raven saw many things, none of them were like what they could see today.
{SLIDE – from cave to ravens}
What Raven Saw:

1. A huge snowstorm that covered the ground in a thick layer of white.
2. A giant tree that towered over everything else.
3. A huge lake that sparkled in the sun.
4. A group of animals that were running and playing.
5. A beautiful rainbow that stretched across the sky.
6. A starry night sky that was filled with twinkling stars.
7. The sun rising over the horizon, casting a warm glow over everything.
{SLIDE – figure in paddock}
And then later:

an empty sky,
a lone tree,
a river with no water,
a desert with no sand,
a snow-covered mountain,
a forest with no trees,
and a vast plain with no grass.
{SLIDE – disappearing}
As a child, Raven grew up on the edge of suburbia where the wildness still lingered.
{SLIDE – RAVEN – motion in brackets}
Raven would often explore the woods and fields beyond their backyard, getting lost in nature's embrace. There was something about the untamed land that called to Raven’s soul, and they would often spend hours upon hours roaming freely. Though Raven’s parents always warned them to be careful, they never felt truly afraid when they were out in the wilderness. It was as if the animals and plants were Raven’s kin, and they would watch over raven as they made their way in the world.
{SLIDE – from forest to city}
One night Raven was out flying in the storm. They were buffeted by the wind and rain, and could barely see where they were going. Suddenly, Raven crashed into something hard. They looked up and saw that they had flown into a tree. Raven was angry and frustrated, and started to fly away. But then they heard a voice calling to them. It was Tree. Tree asked Raven why they were flying in such dangerous weather. Raven explained that they were looking for a place to shelter from the storm. Tree invited Raven to come and stay with them and shelter under their canopy. Raven was hesitant at first, but Tree assured them that they would be safe. Raven agreed, and found comfort in a small hollow in Trees trunk. By morning, they were both sure that they had found a true friend.
{SLIDE – Diprotodon}
Raven had once had another true friend. But that was so long ago they find it hard to remember what they looked like. Ice, and drought and water and fire, and people had all come and gone since then. This friends name was Stevie _ One of the last of the Dip-ro-to-dons – a giant wombat if you will.

Again raven thought, “It is happening again” and again became concerned that this time they would not be so lucky.
{SLIDE – Diprotodon 2}
Raven Remembers how it ended for Stevie, slowly.

And then years later in the museum.

Then a memory of what they looked like.



One day, Raven found the crumpled pages of a book called “The fascinating secrets of Oceans and Islands” (1972) and read the words – “The glorious and ostentatious birds of paradise … are the unlikely relatives of the smart but unhandsome common crow.”

These words left Raven feeling sad.
Raven felt sad, not because of the fact that author had not included Raven’s own species as a relative of their northern kin, nor for the fact that they knew many of these kin had ended up as hats (as the book made a point of pointing out) for European Ladies – but for the loss of all of the multitude of now unknown and unremembered kin – kin as transitions in relatedness – from distant, to close – and all that was found in between.

Raven was sure they could remember some of their names.

And also what some of them looked like.
“It is happening again” thought Raven.

“This time it is different – we saw it coming, and we were part of its coming. And this time we could do, but we didn’t. We chose not too.”

“This time it is different, maybe this time none of us will be so lucky”