On the edge of a small grove of juniper trees at the northern boundary of the Great Basin you will find the Spotted Stone. About the size of the one that sealed the tomb, it stands vertical, like a sentinel guarding the grove. The Spotted Stone is the color of granite with fine veins that shine in the moonlight like lines of cold unblinking fire. The spots are large, white, and number half a dozen. They stare like glaucomic eyes toward the cumulus clouds congealing on the horizon.
The raven has traveled far and is fatigued, but his spirit rises when he spies the stone. Silently he drops toward it, breaks with spread wings and wedge-shaped tail, and alights on its solid berm. Pausing a minute, he surveys the convoluted terrain, then dips his heavy bill deep into the largest spot on the stone. Suddenly, with renewed energy, the ebony bird accelerates upward, vanishing into the cloud cover. A drop of blood, the size of a cherry clings to the tip of his lower mandible.
Published in the December, 1999 issue of Mennonite Life.