A Kindness of Ravens
“Everybody got to watch the sky turn gray.” This is a feather, fallen from a place where you cannot be, a place inhabited by deep sleep from which one does not awaken. Icarus Huxley feared its November sky, cleaved by an unkindness of ravens, a cloud of black wings flying as one hunting for anyone willing to dare congress with the shadows of a place of the dead where the air and the sky are free. More
“Everybody got to watch the sky turn gray.” This is a feather, fallen from a place where you cannot be, a place inhabited by deep sleep from which one does not awaken. It is a deep and hollow place where, as a child, Huxley dared such congress under the watchful eyes of the ravens in the sky above him, urging his path through a harvested cornfield of stalks, upright, broken and carried away, where he must endure stresses and losses to learn the lessons of the lives and needs of spirits of the dead for whom he will become a guide.
Is it muse, haunting, or true partnership that drives the urgency of paranormal therapist, Dr. Icarus Huxley, touched by his gift since childhood to assist the unsettled dead along their way? In A Kindness of Ravens, Dr. Huxley tries to reconcile his childhood encounter with his most frequent companion and namesake, Icarus, of Greek mythology, whose enigmatic mentoring draws Huxley along a path of discovery to understand why his will be a household name only among the dead.
Huxley’s journey takes him into a recurring dream of several years duration from childhood to young adulthood, losing both of his parents, a teacher of his childhood admiration and a young woman he is reluctant, but tragically courts along the way. Having the companionship of his namesake only barely eases the suffering of these losses while encouraging him to brave the dangers of acquaintance with his special gift.
His dream takes him as a child on a treacherous path around a gothic manor, beginning in a cornfield whose stalks are arranged as monuments and whose significance is his to discover, if he can survive the circuit around the manor. Watched over by an unkindness of ravens, hovering constantly above, he is both fearful and encouraged by their presence, but must learn what their function in his dream serves. His encounters with others along the way, others who are living and dead, threaten his achievement even though some of them are there for his effort, if only he could figure out who among them are the help and who would have him fail at the risk of his life.
His is the journey of the raven, whose maligned character has within its flight the secret of Huxley’s dilemma. He must learn to reconcile the advice given to Icarus of old: the air and the sky are free.