I laid over in Fairbanks on business one winter not too long ago, and the temperature plunged to 40 degrees below zero.  The cold had hovered there for over a week.

That first morning, I awoke to the sound of bongo drums on the street.  To add to the strangeness, it was still dark out, and devastatingly cold.  What’s more, there seemed to be more than one drummer.  In fact, the drummers seemed to be answering one another, in concert – as if holding a conversation involving several bongo players.  When it grew light, I went outside to investigate.  Because of the cold, I wrapped a wool blanket around my head and walked out into the street.

There I discovered a group of ravens imitating exactly the beat of riffing bongo players.  I found the big black birds overpopulating the Fairbanks rooftops, swinging on the electric wires, and on the sidewalks, digging through garbage.

In the local coffee shop, the birds were the main topic of conversation.  The residents were collectively convinced something bad was about to befall their town.

C.A. Willis, Seattle

2 thoughts on “Ravens in 40 Degrees Below

  1. Layne:

    Thanks for your self-publishing/marketing talk at the STC meeting tonite. You may want to consider co-promoting your book with Diana Reiss, author of The Dolphin in the Mirror, which just became available for sale this week.

    More info on Dr. Reiss and her work is available at:




    Best regards,
    Ellen Kurek
    Integrity Communications
    Newcastle, WA

    1. I’ve often thought of how potentially smart dolphins are. If I remember correctly, they are the one creature that has a greater ratio of brain size to body weight than humans, and their brains have a greater density of furrows on the surface – both indications of intelligence. Hmmm… If we could only see as the dolphin does. I will look into this book. Thanks, Ellen.

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