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Posts Tagged ‘Odin’

          “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

A raven in Yosemite. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A raven in Yosemite. — Photo by Pat Bean

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.

One of my roof-top ravens on an earlier day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of my roof-top ravens on an earlier day. — Photo by Pat Bean

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.

Huginn and Muninn sit on Odin's shoulders in an illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript.

Huginn and Muninn sit on Odin’s shoulders in an illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript.

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.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat:  Birding Southern Baja  http://tinyurl.com/kgud9e6  A bit of armchair birding and travel gleamed from this delightful blog.

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