Spiraling across the spring sky in perfect unison, laughing at gravity, signaling their pleasure with a resonant “Pwok, Pwok” , Raven and his mate leisurely glided in huge circles over the valley. Suddenly, with their slick black feathers gleaming in the morning sun, they snapped instantly into a series of parallel barrel rolls that would make any top gun fighter pilot envious.
Then came the imperceptibly smooth transition into a power dive ending with a side by side flare across the brilliant green of fresh spring grass mixed with last year’s straw coloured hay. To regain altitude, Raven led his mate in a parade of loop the loops climbing skyward until they were just black specks against the white puffy clouds.
Now for the grand finale. Slipping down through the air in a slow shallow curve, one partner would slide over onto their back, legs and claws stretched upwards so the upper one could clasp hands, pulling skyward. Then the clench would break, followed by a short smooth approach where the joining would again take place. It looked just like a 1960′s jive, where the partners would join hands, move in close, then fall back unclasping fingers, each loosened for a moment but still paired in the rhythm. Three, four, five or more times the intricate handshake was performed in an undulating verticality: clasp, drop, clasp, drop, clasp drop, switch top and bottom partner, clasp drop, clasp drop, clasp drop, slowly losing altitude, performing aerial magic..
Raven and his partner were having a wonderous time. There is no other way to describe it. Across the gulf of species, the feelings of energy and joy to be alive were unmistakably communicated by the lighthearted aura of this elegant couple, dancing the Spring Dance of the Raven