“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.” – Barbara Kingsolver
Huginn and Muginn
According to legend, Odin, the Norse God of Asgard, had two ravens. One was named Huginn, meaning thought, and the other Muginn, meaning memory.
I thought about these two mythical birds this morning as I watched, from my bedroom balcony, a pair of ravens skittering about on the red tile roof of an adjacent building. I see these, or other, ravens often. Sometimes I’m amazed at how the sheen of their midnight black feathers appear almost white when the sun strikes them in a peculiar way.
There were no ravens in Texas, where I grew up. I only became familiar with these members of the corvid family when I moved West. And then when I became a passionate birder, I spent hours learning to tell them apart from their cousins, the crows.
It’s an easy task if you see the two species together. The raven is quite a bit larger with a thick sturdy beak. But when they’re at a distance and flying overhead, it’s not so easy, well at least until you realize the raven has a wedge-shaped tail and the outer edge of the crow’s tail is straight.
Smiling to myself, and perhaps thinking like Dr. Seuss, I wondered which of my two roof-hopping ravens was Huginn, and which was Muginn. Then I laughed at my thoughts, while memories of watching ravens in other places and other times danced through my head.
Thoughts and memories – that’s really all we are.
Bean’s Pat: Birding Southern Baja http://tinyurl.com/kgud9e6 A bit of armchair birding and travel gleamed from this delightful blog.