Raven Woman: Migael Scherer,

Findling: Lessons from the Glaciers of Alaska: Kim Heacox,

And Suddenly Nothing Happened: Eva Saulitis,

“I had a chance to talk with a raven the other day. I stepped out of a local store onto the small back porch of the building and there he was, sitting on the rail of the handicapped access ramp. He was no more than five feet to the side of me, just a little lower than eye level, black as could be, and handsome…

On my walk back to the office, I remember the story I’d once heard–that as creator, Raven taught the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska how to speak, that because Raven has no lips, the sounds he taught were tongue and throat and moving air sounds…I thought about how, according to Tlingit legend, Raven gave shape to the world and how much language gives shape to our lives. I thought about the language of stories, stories that define us and teach us and heal us and frighten us and comfort us–allow us to understand ourselves. I had no idea if my raven tutor uttered those sounds with anything particular in mind, but could imagine them appropriately interjected, taking on meaning in various contexts–a creator’s comments, hints, exclamations about our human dilemmas and joys and fear.

This issue of Connotations features three very human stories of exploration and understanding. As I read them, I imagine Raven’s voice still nudging at the shape of our lives, still saying, “Hmm. …Nnnot quite. …No! No! …There you go. …Yes.”