Raven Woman

She was an enigma and a gift. I stumbled across her accidentally, while researching something else. Her name was Maggie. She lived in the upper left corner of the country, and part of the time she lived in a house in a tree. The rest of the time she lived near a tree whose hollow trunk could shelter eight cows from the rain.

I wrote to her because she was a gifted carver of fossilized walrus ivory. The permafrost spits up chunks of it, and Yupik tribes harvest, carve and sell them. Maggie has a small stash of walrus ivory.

I’d seen some of her carvings, and I knew she was the right person to carve my dream. For months I’d had a recurring dream about a woman. She would come trudging up a hill, outlined against the night sky. A moon was shining in the dream and the sky was spattered with stars. The woman had big hands; she used them to hold her shawl close around her.

raven woman Once she reached the top of the hill, she would begin a simple dance. It was one of relief and joy, limited only by arthritis. At the end of the dance, she would wave her shawl over her head. At that moment, I saw the woman had the wings of a raven. She would wrap the shawl around her again, and as she trundled back down the hill, I could see on her back the constellation Orion.

What did the dream mean? I still don’t know, but Maggie carved it for me. Without more than the story above, she got it just right.

I miss you and your gift Maggie. Rest in peace.
–Quinn McDonald is an artist who wears the amulet Maggie made for her. Quinn is a writer and a certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com

5 thoughts on “Raven Woman

  1. I was just thinking about Maggie, googling to see if I could find any pictures of her work to remind me of how talented she was. Ran across your page and just wanted to drop a note from a fellow fan of hers. She was amazingly talented, made me envious and want to emulate her work. I got much inspiration from her, but my artistry still pales in comparison.

  2. Carving and sculpting are amazing art forms. Even arrow heads are a wonder to me but I NEVER found one. My neice found one in the yard of the house where I grew up after years and years of me mowing the dern place. Great story about Maggie, the dream and her most excellent work!

    —You probably never found an arrowhead because you were busy working on that incredible art you do! -Q

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