Sunday, April 2, 2006

Days of the White Raven.

Days of the White Raven.

Belaya Varona. White crow, or white raven. In the US, I think this would be an insult, or it would be a challenge from somebody who was in need of making a statement of individualism. The first is obviously bad, and the second is so frequently associated with wanna-bes, that it is also rather bad. I was told I was a white crow, and I should not try to hide it. In this regard, the Russians are like the Mexicans - they will nickname someone with a truthful label, and it is not an insult. A man with a fat belly may be Gordo, or "Gourd" after his shape. And it is not an insult. Here someone can call you a white crow, and it is a label of pride, that one is especially talented, clever, or intelligent. Hell, man, this was such a fit, I felt like I had been waiting for this nickname since I was a kid. It just fits the way I feel, that's a fact. Crows are smart, very smart. Probably the smartest birds in the Northern Hemisphere, that's North America, Europe, and northern Asia. They have a reputation as carrion-eaters sometimes, but this is only a small part of their diet, and it performs a useful function in our world. In folk tales around the world, they have a position much like Coyote - a bit of a trickster, not good, not bad, but some of each, and they are usually smart or clever. In Norse mythology, there were two special ravens who sat with Odin. They would fly around the world, and then report back all the secrets they saw to Odin. For the Kiowa, White Raven was one of the first men, along with Spider, Coyote, and others. White Raven tricked the others, hiding all the buffalo, and when they found him out they scorched him and turned him black.

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