Raven Gift – A Rocky Mountain Encounter, video still photo by Barbara Bickel, Banff, AB, June 2018
Studio M* is researching the relational practice of currency flow in a gift economy. In contrast to the capitalist interest/profit-based monied economy that has created a destructive and unsustainable overreach of human/earth relational reciprocity (Eisenstein, Noubel, Vaughn)
On a hot sunny day the afternoon before Summer Solstice, we hiked up the side of Sacred Sleeping Buffalo Mountain (named Tunnel Mountain by settlers) in Banff, Alberta. While eating our lunch we were approached by a totally silent raven sitting on the low branch of a tree 3 feet behind us. This visitation felt like a gift especially when it called out loudly to us and then flew out into the wind, dipping into a half flip rotation with acrobatic grace. It took our breath away witnessing this master of the air.
Later standing on the cliff edge looking out to the mountain ranges in the distance we noticed the raven return to check us out again, or so we thought. We didn’t think much of it, and returned after a few minutes to find our packs being dug into. The raven had helped itself to our still uneaten fruit, stripped the banana of its skin and enjoyed a “gift” from us.
This encounter reminded us of the joy of receiving and giving of gifts unasked for as co-participants in a relational exchange, an unexpected flow of sacred energies in the form of nourishment, lunch for the raven and awe for us. How can art encounters mimic this ancestral eco-wisdom of currency that replenishes the world rather than deplete and exploit it?