Mysteries and Sacraments of Life

Not 15 minutes after our arriving at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, Mom and Pop raven also turned up. They lighted on the steeple and had a quick look at the nest there – too exposed, apparently, to rain and owls – and then they flew around to the real nest, the messy looking pile of sticks and twigs atop the head of St Brendan in his niche on the church’s facade. Here they coo’d and made romance and began to tidy their last year’s work, very much “in the mood for love.” All the while, parishioners had gathered in the church below for a funeral, sleek wealthy Hancockers in sombre threads. Rituals of life and death for the avian and primate inhabitants of Los Angeles. Anthropology or ornithology or both? Corvus corax and Homo sapiens have lived these intertwined destinies for millennia now, so much alike, but physically so far apart.

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