Writing

The Raven Feather

A raven feather lies on the top of the desk in my writing room. Another one stretches across a display on the table where I usually pray in the morning.

They have special meaning to me. They are symbols of mystery and of a kind of connectedness that reaches way beyond both raven and me. They also represent two particular moments of such connectedness, and a path taken because of those moments.

Ravens have long represented the spiritual dimension of reality. To the Indigenous peoples of North America they have been seen as a symbol of the Creator, or of spiritual transformation. They also have been portrayed in the role of trickster. That Creator/trickster set of roles hints at the troubles humans have placing trust in the Great Mystery.

A raven was the first bird Noah is said to have released from the ark to search for dry land. The prophet Elijah was cared for by ravens during a time of great hardship. A number of saints and sages are associated with ravens.

I chose to use images of ravens on the footer of this website, and perhaps will include them elsewhere over time, as a way of highlighting the connections between nature and healthy spirituality that are at the heart of my writing. That will become more apparent in the future, I hope, as a raven plays a key role in the novel I’m currently revising. If all goes well, I’ll send it off to a publisher when I’m done and it will find a home.

The raven feather on my writing desk is one I picked up in front of Sigurd Olson’s writing shack several years ago when I stayed overnight at the house. I am best known for my biography of Sigurd, and have immense gratitude for him and the entire Olson family. I’ve got a new collection of Sigurd’s journals coming out next spring, and I’m very excited about it.

Now that I have a new book coming out–my first in years–and have other book projects underway, I realized it’s time to heed the advice I’ve long received and create my own author’s website.

Of course the bulk of it is static content; it’s the blog that will receive the most updates. I’ve blogged before, but focused on a fairly narrow range of subject matter. I suspect this one will be much more diverse. But I’m content to let it develop organically over time. I keep getting all kinds of email about marketing my blog, and something called SEO. Personally, I’d rather listen to the raven. It’s always worked before.

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6 Comments

  1. I am looking forward to following your log, David. Our first connection was our mutual interest in Sigurd Olson, but I anticipate that we will find much more that we hold in common.

  2. David,
    I listened to the blog on “That’s so Minnesota” this evening. I have always enjoyed Sig’s books. I told my mother-in-law once that the best Xmas present to me would be a book. She bought me 4 of Sig’s books over the years. I read stories to my son before bed, before he was born. We used to go to the Boundary Waters as a family every year. It’s been a while since our last trip. My son still loves the outdoors and has carried on the tradition with some of his friends. Winter camping which never intrigued me. Hate the cold, even more so now that I’m older. I forwarded the link to him for the podcast. I hope this will be a message he embraces. Every year he takes a weekend trip. Kind of a soul searching endeavor. I think I figured out what to get him for Xmas! I look forward to your book release!

    1. Hi Dale, thanks for writing. Yes, a Boundary Waters trip is always good for soul searching. I’ve never been a winter camper either, but I know the beauty of the area during the months of snow and cold. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. For anyone reading this, this is a well-edited cut of an hour-long conversation, and I like how she focused on the parts about the importance of following your dream, and paying it forward. Here’s the link to the page, with several choices of audio format: https://www.kare11.com/article/syndication/podcasts/thats-so-minnesota/sigurd-f-olson-outdoors-thats-so-minnesota-podcast/89-fbc9ddb6-328b-444d-96db-76f00958cb98 . That’s nice that you thought of passing it on to your son before his trip, Dale. And the book of Sig’s journals, called “A Private Wilderness,” is all about that often difficult journey to become who you feel meant to be. It comes out in June.

    1. Hi Hiedi! Sigurd’s life story is interesting and valuable for all kinds of people, not just those who love nature. It’s a story of someone with a calling who struggles for decades to follow it, and somehow never gives up. And if you’re interested in also reading one of his own books, I’d recommend trying “The Singing Wilderness” first.

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