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The Glen

by Velonna Patrick 8 months ago in Mystery
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What You See, Isn't Really What's There

Free Photo from Max Pixel

In the glen I sat and sketched a picture of a bird in a tree. I traced it’s wings, head, feet, and tail feathers before it flew away. I looked at the picture that I drew and started to add details to it, adding the colors and the details of the birds face. But after a while I felt that my memory was starting to fade, and I stood up and started to walk around the glen, looking for the bird. I walked toward a beautiful stream, rushing water gliding down moss covered rocks into a pool teeming with life. I looked down into the water and saw something glimmering white at the bottom. A beautiful koi fish drifted by the object, and glanced at it for a moment before continuing to swim across the pool of paradise.

I knelt down next to the stream and reached into the water. My fingers touched the surface and immediately felt the cool, soothing water envelope my skin. As I reached further the water began to ripple and swish. The fish swam toward the edges of the stream as I grabbed the object and pulled it out. Sitting cross legged I stared into my palm at what looked like the skull of a Raven, perfectly shaped, smooth to the touch, it's skin and muscle gone from the bones surface. Perfectly intact. The empty eye sockets seemed to stare at me openly, peering into my soul.

I saw myself in this birds eye, this bird that I did not know but felt a deep connection to, like a stranger on the street that you've never met but make eye contact with and feel immediately pulled toward them. Who are you? What's in your shadow? I saw my shadow, like the shadow of the moon, hidden from most of the world most of the time. I saw myself at seven years old staring at my grandmothers coffin sitting before me as it was lowered into the ground, realizing for the first time as a child that I was mortal and would not live forever. At seven years old I had thought about how she had died and left the world quickly for us so that we knew she hadn't suffered too. I saw the night after her death in the hotel my family and I stayed in, our sobs could be heard from down the hall. "I can feel her," my aunties had said. "I can feel her spirit."

I saw myself as a little girl standing above the notebook of a fellow classmate in the fifth grade. He had left that notebook on the blacktop with his pen, and a jumbo rice crispy treat sitting atop of the notebook. It's empty pages held down by it. My stomach had growled, and I looked around, picking that rice crispy up and sliding it into my pocket. Without remorse. Without feeling bad. I had eaten what wasn't mine because I was hungry.

I saw myself as a teenager seated in my 8th grade science class, staring my teacher in the face as I deliberately disobeyed her instructions to put away my food, just because I felt they weren't fair or necessary and that eating in class wasn't a distraction but a necessity. I felt no remorse then either. I remember how my friend Tianna had been sitting next to me when a boy behind her called her braids dreads and how upset Tianna had gotten over that, and how I had turned around and started hammering him for being an asshole, something that before that moment I had never done before.

I was brought back to the glen staring at this Raven's skull. The shadow self is thought to be bad, but in this case, perhaps it is a little more grey than that. We all make decisions that in a lot of cases, might be considered unwise. But perhaps it's not about the fact that we made the decision, it matters what our reasons were for making them. My choice to steal a rice crispy treat from another was a child's action, and one motivated by my feeling of hunger and not having any food to eat myself. I could've perhaps gone to the school cafeteria and gotten half cooked chicken nuggets or fish sticks, in which case it would've made me sick throughout the rest of the day.

I could've chosen to finish eating my snack in science class later, yet at that moment I felt I needed food right then, to the teachers dismay. The Raven, then, taught me that the shadow self hides our deepest needs and wants, insecurities and desires, bad and good. And if all it takes is to peer into the socket of a Ravens skull to explore that in ourselves, then perhaps internal exploration is much easier than it's made out to be.

I placed my hand back into the pool, and allowed the Raven's skull to sink back to where I found it. I learned my lesson. I learned what I needed to with the Raven spirits help. And now it was time to return this spirits body back to where it wished to rest.


About the author

Velonna Patrick

My credentials: BA in English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing

Two minors: Psychology and Chinese Language and Culture

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Instagram: @velonnapatrick

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