Trish and I love ravens. Maybe Trish a bit more. There’s a reason they’re honored in myth and legend in places where they are indigenous. Without getting too deep into origin or migration stories, the Pacific Northwest is a place where they are indigenous. Okay, let’s say locals. They are locals, and most of the rest of us are visitors, tourists, refugees from somewhere else.
How I got myself into this whole thing is this: I wanted to have a cool title, with, maybe, some graphic lettering, to go with my drawing of a raven. Ravenswood, ravenscraft, the words I might choose to use were taken up by video games and artisan beer companies and such commercial places.
Then, while watching the pre-season football game last night, coloring-in a larger (can’t be scanned on my printer) version of the drawing, mostly because this previously-colored version was criticized by Trish for being ‘too yellow.’ “And you put color on my raven (wait, her raven?); ravens are black;” I saw a little spot from the Muckleshoot tribe featuring a young woman, a champion middle distance runner, who was bringing attention to Native Women who have been murdered or disappeared by competing (and winning) with the image of a red hand across her mouth.
I didn’t catch the young woman’s name. Sorry. Here’s a related image:
Okay, I spent another five minutes, found this image of Rosalie Fish taken by photographer Alex Flett:
Hey, maybe I’m reaching for a connection here. Maybe there’s just too much going on about who belongs where, who’s a local, who’s a migrant/tourist/visitor. Part of my family’s history (or legend of actual history) includes a connection to Eastern Band Cherokees (pre Trail of Tears), with other connections to Wales, England, Scandinavia – legends of settlers and invaders. Reaching. Fine. Maybe we’re not all migratory, transitory; here, there, and… gone.
Maybe I’m looking for something spiritual among the mundane.
I really just wanted to show my raven illustration.
I did tone down some of the yellowness. When I get the later version, “Trisha’s Raven,” reduced, I’ll put out a side-by-side.
MEANWHILE, BONUS! Here’s a recent shot of Stephen Davis kiteboarding:
A great deal of what I know about surfing was learned through an amalgamation of my own trying and failing, reading, conversations with Frank at nxnw, and watching Archie. It would go like this: I would see Archie surfing, try to emulate and fail, go do a ton of research about what I saw and how it worked and how I failed, then talk to Frank about what I was reading and get some well-needed trimming and redirection from him. Eventually, it got to a point where it all started coming together, and Archie and I were surfing together quite a bit; and it was so incredibly beneficial. What a smart, stylish man…simultaneously capable of wise, incisive critiques and nearly limitless patience delivered with a special economy of language derived from being an already reserved man operating in a second language.
It’s not the coast, there isn’t going to be waves all the time. The straits are a place made for a surfer like Archie, a fickle, intricate, complex set of oceanography where the payoff is glassy, longboard gliders. I saw Archie ride 6″ waves all the way into the rivermouth crouched like a baseball catcher and, incredibly, 20 or 30 yards upstream into the river. It’s slow, foggy, winding, damp drives on mossy roads and cold water. I followed the Torino and the Ranchero rumbling along in my pickup at mellow speeds into town for dinner after cold sessions. It’s a skunker, a day wasting, soul crushing gas burner for those who cannot or will not put in the time and effort to figure it all out and arrive at just the right moment for the magic….it’s a natural club when you figure it out and start showing up to find the same people every time.
When my work and living situation changed, and I was forced to leave my surfing gear and move to make a living; Archie made a tiny, perfectly-shaped longboard out of driftwood from the strait; and he sent it with a small note saying that now I would always have a board. Having this arrive while I was driving trucks in the plains was so incredibly meaningful. It was perhaps one of the most thoughtful gestures anyone has ever made toward me…setting in stone my resolve to work through hard times and return myself to the sea.
Literally, today, I’m working through projects with my 79 Ford…which was bought because a surfer should have a stylish and functional rig, it was bought with memories of Archie’s Torino wagon rolling snow tires on cragers. Waves here are fickle and infrequent as well, not nearly as tricky to call but colder and more physically demanding. I carry a synthesis of Archie with me as I go, in my internal jury, carefully discerning what would be the most stylish, most efficient, most refined, most balanced way…regardless of my ability to achieve those levels, I carry the standard he set and it makes me a better person.