Mouthful of White (35)

I am riding home from the farmer’s market when I see a raven flying toward me with a mouthful of white. I stop to watch. He lands in a fan palm beside the bike path. I wish I had my binoculars. I want to know what he’s holding in his beak. When I first saw him, I was afraid he had a bird, but now I don’t think so. It looks like a huge clump of cotton but less dense, a shock of fluffy white against the smooth shiny black of him. I wait. I think he will put this big prize in his nest, but he only sits there. He makes those smooth guttural sounds I love so much, and another raven answers. I look over and see her sitting two trees down, matching white stuff in her mouth. On the first palm, I see a spot that juts out, and I think it might be a nest. I keep waiting. Then I realize I’ve interrupted them. I apologize and ride away. For a moment, I cry—because I am the intruder, because they are afraid of my kind. Later, I hope I didn’t dim the glory of their bright snowy find.

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