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Raven Vs. Gull

“AAAAAAAAA!”  The man went running by screaming as loudly as he could.  His bag was flapping against his hip.  The raven noticed that it wasn’t latched.

The bear went by a moment later.  Seeing opportunity, the raven flew into the air and followed the two creatures through the wilderness.

It was obvious that the bear was toying with the man – running leisurely, catching up to the man, taking a half-hearted swipe at the legs and falling back again.

The man, on the other hand, was terrified.  He didn’t noticed when his hat flew off.  He lost a shoe at the last turn, and it looked like his bag was about ready to dump its contents.  He, also, hadn’t stopped screaming since the raven first spotted him running down the trail.

The bear was gaining on the man again.  He took a swipe and snagged his claw on the bag.  Something silver tumbled out as the man ran faster than the raven thought men could run.  The bear was too busy to notice what he had knocked loose.  Bear and man continued down the trail; raven lit upon the top of a pine.

He looked down at the trail.  It was a…  No, it couldn’t be…  But it was – a FISH!  The raven called out his claim to the fish at the same time that another call came from the tree exactly opposite to him.  Raven recognized the call as that of a gull.  He called back to the gull in the gull’s language.  The gull responded with a threat.  The raven returned the threat.  They eyed each other.  Both left their trees at the same time and clashed in mid air.  Black, white and gray feathers fell from the sky and onto the trail.

The birds returned to opposite sides of the trail.  The raven knew he was smarter and more sophisticated than the gull, but the gull was cunning when it came to procuring food to satisfy its voracious appetite.  He called to the gull.  The gull ignored him – its mind was consumed with the thought of its next meal.

The gull darted out from its tree.  The raven intercepted him.  The gull shouted “MINE!  MINE!  MINE!” as the two birds fell to the ground, claws interlocked, beaks snapping.  They pecked, snapped, scrabbled and flapped.  They scratched and screamed.  They hopped on each other – neither gained a clear advantage.

Both tired, they stepped away from each other.  Black eyes stared into gold eyes.  Both squinted.  Their chests heaved as they tried to regain their breath.  Then, the raven heard something.  He cocked his head to keep one eye on the gull and to look at where the other sound was coming from.

There, where the fish had been, sat three bloated magpies – clattering away like some old hens.  The fish was no where to be seen.

Author’s Note: Living in Alaska gave me time to explore the wilderness and watch animal behavior in the wild. My time wandering the streets of Anchorage, where a gull attacked me, and through the woods near and far in the rest of the state gave me the experience I needed to write this story. What life experience have you used to further your creativity?

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The Salmon on Turkey Day: A Guide to Swimming Upstream against Greed and the Corporate Mandate

Every year, the same thing happens. Retailers offer big discounts, they steal time from their employees and their customers with stores that open too early, and some of those customers die (10 in 2017) or get injured (111 in 2017). Let’s work to change that, again.

When box stores and big retailers first announced they would open on Thanksgiving to dole out the hot deals of Black Friday early, there was a public outcry that got some of the retailers to change their minds. The problem is that public outcry can only happen so often and so long before people tire of crying. There are only so many tears one can shed and so much energy one can spend fighting the tireless, emotionless machine called “business”whose sole reason for being is profit. Even salmon, who are among the most energy efficient creatures on Earth, die after swimming upstream.

In 2018, we’re back again. Corporate stores are open all day, at 5 pm or at some other time on Thursday – Thanksgiving Day. If you do notwork at one of these stores, you have the option of staying at home with your family, enjoying turkey, football, and whatever other traditions you have. The employees for these stores aren’t so lucky. Not only are they not going to be able to take advantage of the deals offered, but they also won’t be able to spend the time eating amazing foods and enjoying their holiday with friends or family. Will the CEOs and Board of Directors be working alongside their employees or will they be at home?

You have a choice, and your choices have the power to change things. If no one shows up on Thanksgiving, the stores will stop opening. Don’t go to the store, and if you want to drive the point home, don’t buy anything from those stores this holiday season. Instead, spend your money, if you have to, on gifts that will help your local economy or help make the world a better place. Locally owned stores do more with your money that helps produce a vibrant and strong local economy. If you want where you live to continue to grow in times of economic downturn, you need to go to those stores now. When they are more profitable, chances are, you’ll benefit, too.

Give a gift that you made yourself or get something handmade by an artists or artisan near you. Local craft and holiday fairs allow you to meet the people that make the items, and you’ll get something different than what most people will be buying this year. Your spending helps a crafter do more of what he or she loves.

Of course, the best gift you can give someone is your time. Spending your time with the people you love and forgetting the gifts altogether may just be the key to making the season bright, instead of falling into the blackness of a Friday where people are often killed and injured in the name of the almighty dollar and a “good” deal. Unlike the salmon, swimming upstream on this day won’t kill you but going with the flow could. Be sure to share if you like this article!