(too-loo-gak): Inuktitut (the language of Inuit) word meaning raven

Jack Sigvaldason

Yellowknife, NT

It was a cold winter day, overcast, which was fitting under the circumstances. As I backed my car out into the lane I noticed dozens, perhaps hundreds of ravens perched in the trees, on roofs and telephone poles. Down the lane more ravens were flying in a low circle. Then I saw the cause; a dead raven and beside him his lifelong mate.

Ravens, I knew mate for life and live upwards of 40 years, but until then it had not occurred to me how strong the bonds of pairs and flock could be. The surviving female sat beside her larger, dead husband lying on the road. There was no sign of injury. Had he died of sickness or perhaps old age? Whatever the cause, it was clearly a time of mourning, not only for his mate, but for all the local ravens, those circling overhead in homage and the many more roosting and silent on surrounding trees and rooftops. Surely it was a raven funeral ceremony a requiem for a raven.