nevermore

Ardersier graveyardIt was one of these late summer days when Scotland feels the coldest: a grey drizzle spread across the country and brought a chill to the bones. Night-time was near and it felt far from reasonable to get out of the car and take pictures of the graveyard in Ardersier. But there it had turned up suddenly on the way home, it felt like I couldn’t just leave it. It drew me in somehow.

Ardersier headstoneThe graveyard was fairly new with the occasional old headstone in between recent ones. Surrounded by vast stretches of arable land, it did not have a remote feeling to it. But the approaching night and the cold wind made the urge to leave grow stronger by the minute. I tried to hurry up to get out of the cold and back into the warmth of the car when I suddenly heard a sound: dark wings, right behind me.

raven flying

A huge raven was following me, eyeing me closely with fathomless scrutiny, as if he had been waiting for me. Remembering Poe’s poem I felt rather Victorian….

Ardersier raven monochrome

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—

(Edgar Allen Poe: The Raven)

Ardersier graveyad

Ardersier (19)Ardersier graveyardHe croaked and he jumped, he fluttered and hopped. He would not leave me in peace. His dark feathery presence was eerie in the lonely graveyard. Why did the raven haunt these quiet graves? He gave a low croak and stared right into my eyes, with the uncomfortable certainty that accompanies secret wisdom. Doom seemed imminent.

  And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted—nevermore!

(Edgar Allen Poe: The Raven)

Ardersier ravens

Ardersier graveyardMy soul survived and so did I. It turned out the raven wanted something to eat. He got a toffee and I left Ardersier with one thought in my head: reading poetry can lead to interesting encounters of the feathery kind and not all ravens want human souls, some are just as happy getting sweeties.

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