Saturday, 21 June 2014

As the Crow Flies ... Away

Blog #52 – I did it! I spent a whole year in the company of the crow, and shared what I learned from her with my readers. It’s been a great year, and I want to thank you 14 readers for sticking with me. (Actually, I can now confess that there are more than 14 readers– I know, because I’ve heard from many more of you, but often that’s the number my blog counter shows, more or less.)

The crow showed up unexpectedly in my life, while I was researching a symbol for wisdom. The crow? Who knew? Well okay, I thought, perhaps a crow could serve as my symbol in this new blogging venture. But the more I learned about crows, the more fascinated I became. The crow is not only a symbol of wisdom, she also is a good metaphor for humanity.

Winter Tree -- the crow perched in the top is a symbol of wisdom

The crow is everywhere – there are 30-40 different branches of the crow family found all over the world, including jays, rooks, ravens and jackdaws. Similar but different, like humans. Because of their adaptability, almost all are thriving – ditto for humans. They are smart and inventive – check. They live in family groupings – check. They eat almost anything – check. They communicate widely with each other – check.

As I wrote my blog, I often turned to the crow to help me articulate what I wanted to say, and I made art pieces featuring the crow to communicate that. I hope you won’t mind if I “crow” for a bit, and review and share these pieces with you one more time.

My first piece is the one you see on the banner of this blog: a bird with beads flowing from her mouth. We all have something to say, and wisdom to share, but sometimes it takes courage to share it with others. We think our views might not be accepted, or they may be unorthodox and quirky.

The Squawking Crow
The crow has no quibbles about speaking out; she warns, she invites, she instructs the rest of her family, and in so doing, the family grows stronger. So my Calling Crow in the banner reminds me that if I have something to say, it’s okay –  even more than okay, it’s necessary – to say it. Later, I visited that theme again in The Squawking Crow. Speak out, even if it’s scary.

Aesop's Crow: inventive, creative, problem-solver
Aesop’s Crow tells the story of the crow and the water jug. The crow was thirsty, but the water level was too far down to reach. So she dropped stones in the water till it rose to a level where it was available to quench her thirst. Aesop’s crow reminds me that we all have access to inventiveness and ingenuity; if we use these gifts, we can find creative ways to solve our problems.

Cassandra's Boudoir. Is it all about me?

Cassandra’s Boudoir is an image of myself.  Sometimes, I’m so tempted to stay in the warm cozy confines of all that is familiar, feeling smug and admiring myself. But there’s a big world out there, as represented by the little window in the upper left corner. There's a crow tapping at that window, saying, "Pay attention." What will we do when the world comes calling, with its needs and challenges? Crows take care of each other when one is hurt. They do things for the good of the community. When life presents challenges and changes, crows adapt and learn and move out into the world – do we?

A Tribute to Ana Miriam Leigh -- a vibrant crow if ever there was one.

A Tribute to Ana Miriam was created after the death of a writing partner. Ana was a hippy and flower child who never quite shed her past; she was so different from me, the mousy “good girl”. But she became a huge encourager, and I had to reconsider my first impressions.

We all missed her so much when she was gone. Crows often have funerals and pay tribute to their fallen friends. This crow tells me that I need to open up my life to people whose values, world outlook, and character seem foreign at first glance. There is much to learn and much to gain when we accept and affirm the goodness and gifts created within everyone.

Serenity. Never pass up a chance to say you care.
 Serenity: when all is said and done, we need to come to rest, as crows do every night, to hang out with dear ones, as crows do every night, and share our affection and care for each other. Crows are known for “allopreening” – using their bills to gently and tenderly groom each other. The world would be a better place, don’t you think, if we spent more time caring for each other?

There are more pieces – a dozen in all, created this year for CrowDayOne. It’s been a wonderful journey. I think I will always feel comfortable using a crow as my alter-identity. I’m sure there’s more I can learn from dear old crow, but I think it’s time for her to fly away for a while, and for me to turn my thoughts down other pathways. That’s why you may not get any posts for a few weeks, and they will be more sporadic over the summer (always on a Sunday morning, however, and always under the name of my blog I am committed to my original vision of using writing and quilting to encourage you in your personal and spiritual growth, but I need to evaluate how best to do it. "The View from the Crow's Nest" is a possibility which would allow me to explore new themes -- thanks, Valerie, for that idea -- but I kind of like Birds of a Feather, too -- thanks, Maureen. And Crow Day, Too! and...

Ah, the world is full of exciting possibilities, says the crow. I agree.

If you think you might feel a bit of withdrawal from crow lore, you might enjoy checking out this site, where a bird expert gives interesting details about the difference between crows and ravens: 
There are also many links within the article on interesting facts about these smart birds.  
A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach is a blog I subscribe to for its varied topics related to gardening: natural weed and insect control, flower identification, contributions by other expert gardeners, podcasts, etc. The birdnote site I noted above is embedded in A Way to Garden.


  1. This was such a wonderful series, Jessie... I read every word and loved your accompanying artwork. Closing a door, but opening a window... may this body of work lead you to sharing more insights about yourself and the world around you. I await with anticipation!

  2. Thanks for sharing for the last year, Mom. It's been good to read these posts, even when I get to them late. I hope you have a great summer and get inspired for your next creative projects.