Though I do maintain an entire blog devoted to my favorite of all wild things, there is a place for feathered creatures in this blog as well. After all, birds are major players in so many stories, from the birds who helped out Snow White to Raven as the bringer of light to the tribal nations of the northwest. This little tree sparrow, playing amongst the seedheads with the juncos and chickadees while I was out skiing earlier this week, captures that delicate balance a storyteller seeks between fact and fantasy in stories involving the natural world.
I have a friend, Kevin Strauss, who specializes in such stories, often creating original versions that sound like traditional tales. Kevin particularly loves wolves, and has recently published a book of stories to try and help fight the bad guy image folklore has given Wolf. I have had an original story of my own banging around in my head since witnessing an incredible encounter between a Red-Winged Blackbird and an adult Bald Eagle last summer. So far, that's been the extent of it. I know the direction, I know the main events, but I just can't seem to take it to the realm of magic that is called "story." Lucky for me, Kevin hosts a winter storytelling retreat at a lodge near his home in Ely, Minnesota, and I've treated myself with registration for this retreat next month. I'm hoping that come Saturday night, I'll have my story in a form worth telling, adding it to others at the concert slated for the International Wolf Center that night. It might be tough, though. I understand there are cross country ski trails right out the door of our lodge, and don't even get me started on the possibilities of all those northern bird species I can try to see!