People ask where the name of my retreat here in Wales came from
Here is my story
Little black bird.
She was small tiny in fact.
Not one of them, not part of this tribe and so she didn’t belong.
Saul the king of the crows had said her mother had been a visitor a maverick laying her egg in a nest here in the woods then leaving it to be hatched by one of the king sauls female mates.
Little bird had emerged small scrawny and different she didn’t fit.
The only thing about her that was like the murder of crows she lived with was her colour. She was blacker than the night.
Every day she was reminded that she wasn’t like them smaller not good enough she lived there but she didn’t belong there.
Saul the king was big and mean she had learned not to upset him dodge the sharp elbow of his mighty wing his shrill caw and she had many scars from his sharp beak.
She would wait until everyone had eaten before she dared to look for what scraps were left she survived by living and blending into the shadows.
She lived roosted and nested on the edge of the woods in an old oak tree in a small hollow of a branch near to where she had been hatched.
She knew there was no room for weakness in the woods where she lived the fittest survived the weakest didn’t
The seasons changed the wheel of the year turned new eggs hatched young were born and raised their gathering grew but she was not to see her young born.
Saul would fly into a rage smash her eggs killing her young before her eyes they didn’t stand a chance.
She wondered what was beyond this place her oak tree these woods the stream she dreamed of another place where she could fly and be free.
Then one warm summers evening as she glided alone on a warm summer breeze she was startled by a whoosh of wind as a beautiful huge black bird flew past her.
She watched as he darted and glided this way and that his call was different louder deeper and his feathers though black like hers were darker she followed him as he landed stealthy on an old oak tree on the otherside of the woods.
‘Where do you come from?’ asked the little black bird across the ocean far from here he said preening himself
The sun shone as they spoke of other worlds green valleys and oceans and the little crows heart fluttered.
Could I go to this place she asked?
The beautiful Raven cawed ruffled his feathers and laughed. He tilted his head his eyes were brown and in them she saw a reflection looking back at her.
She let out a caw,
Yes he said seeing the surprise on her face.
You can go anywhere, you too are a Raven.
‘Me a Raven?’ ‘Yes you.’
Why are you nesting with the crows their king is not a good being. His heart is blacker than his feathers,
Fly from here fly south look for the purple topped mountains and green valley’s there are others like us.
Do not be afraid any longer you are brave and stronger than you think you are a warrior little Raven. You can live anywhere you choose.
She flew back to the woods cawing out thanks to the Black Raven.
The king crow was getting old now his eyes were failing and suddenly she realised he wasn’t bigger or stronger and the fear she had felt for all those years roosting in the woods began to leave her.
She puffed up her chest and cawed loudly as she flew down to the place by the river where her smashed eggs and young were buried.
Her heart banged in her Raven chest she was afraid to go but more afraid to stay.
Head tucked under her wing she slept knowing this was the last night in her oak tree in this small woodland that had been her home since she had hatched in the wrong nest.
Tomorrow she would fly
She wished only for good weather and then she slept.
The next morning the sun came up she drank from the stream and caught sight of her reflection again in the water a raven there was new determined look in her eye.
She was no longer the tiny bird the outcast who had taken so many beatings.
A proud strong Raven stared back at her.
She cawed loudly. ‘Goodbye woodland of my youth.’
Gentle winding stream and old oak tree thank you for my shelter and quenching my thirst.
She heard King Saul caw a cruel laugh behind her.
‘Little bird’ he jeered. ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Where do you think you are going?’
I am not little bird I am Raven Storm. I am mighty brave and strong a warrior that is who I truly am. Today I shall fly and find my own path far from here.
King sauls eyes flashed anger ‘you dare speak back to your king you defy my orders?’
‘You would choose solitude and loneliness this is your place.’
The other crows waited for her to answer no one ever left this gathering no one ever left this gathering.
Raven puffed out her chest and spread out her wings ‘I am not your little bird. I choose freedom’
Lonleyness and solitude are yours
There was a gasp from all who gathered as Raven circled for the last time above the small woodland that had been her roost.
As all the crows begin to caw loudly a last goodbye.
The warm winds carried her south. Warm sun shone on her feathers and hope beat a drum inside her brave Raven heart.
She was free.