The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
31 editions — published 2018 —
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“The black can be sooty, soily, glazed, cindery, blackboard black, kohl black, coal black, noir, schwarz, nero. I don’t know how many words and phrases there are to describe black—slate black, cast-iron black, jet black, flat-screen-TV black, ink black, burnt black, liturgical black, hell black—but the raven’s black is as various and as a dense as there are meanings and values attached to the very idea of black, black representing death, mourning, negation, sin, solemnity, the vacancy of space, and all the horrors of human terror and the exercise of power.”
“I also keep a jar full of raven feathers in the storeroom, kindly donated by the ravens once a year during their molt, and which I occasionally like to distribute to deserving/well-behaved/lucky visitors. If I’m doing a Tower tour, for example, and I discover that a couple just got married or engaged, I like to give them a pair of feathers—a primary and a secondary, since without one the other is no good. I’m an old romantic at heart.”
“He was such a friendly bird. It was Thor who was perched on the wooden steps leading up to the White Tower on the occasion of the official visit by Vladimir Putin, and who greeted him with his deep bass ‘Good morning.’ He’d say hello to anybody, Thor.”
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