These are clever birds, able to hunt in packs, to adapt to ever-changing environments; to be inventive and ingenious, to be cheeky, callous, unreliable and shameless, and yet also feature amongst the few species on Earth who mate for life. If that isn’t a mirror image of human I don’t know what is.
Which brings me to my favourite raven story. There is a Ukrainian legend that suggests the birds were once multi-coloured with beautiful singing voices. After the Fall of Angels, their feathers turned to black and their voice became the now familiar caw. When Paradise is restored to Earth, so too will the ravens’ original
beauty be restored to them. I identify with this story because it is linked so closely with the human story: childhood has a degree of innocence to it that is not repeated in later life as the inevitable moral dilemmas and unpredictability of human interaction takes hold. But there is still hope, still a shot at redemption. There has to be, because without it, the Tears on Earth’s Face will never be gently dried, and the weeping will be forever.