– Crow season

Jan sent me a link announcing new work by Vermont artist Carol MacDonald, in which she “examines the tradition of knitting through a variety of print-making techniques.”  I love it, especially that the featured image is “Red Skein I.”  (What is it about red yarn?)

I looked deeper into MacDonald’s portfolio and found even more that I liked, especially her paintings and prints with crows as their subjects.  Her works have titles like “Convergence,” “Bearing Arms,” and “Resolve,” and they are more than portraits of crows.  There occasionally seems to be a bit of string in them, too:

"Accord," Carol MacDonald, silkscreen/thread

"Accord," Carol MacDonald, silkscreen/thread

It’s crow season again.  Yesterday and today, in the mild, fall weather, the crows are landing and taking off in the yard, again and again.  Sometimes there are 100 of them out there, pecking at the sod.  Last year, I wrote a response to my annual experience of these black and blue birds and eventually published it here.

This must happen every fall and around this time. I remember in the fall of 2001 being home with Eli, and noticing the same pattern with the black birds. They swooped in, blanketed the front lawn, chattering and hunting, and then swooping away. It was ominous, marring, on a beautiful October afternoon. Eli said, “The birds know something. Because they’re in the air, they know what’s coming before we do.”

The terrorist attacks of 9-11 were on all our minds. Eli, only nine years, imagined the birds, like planes, in the air, sensing a familiar pattern (planes fly up there, “we” birds fly down here) altered, and knowing that something had changed and was changing, yet not being able to predict what.

Mindful of the chattering of crows in the yard, Eli’s remarks, the recent anniversary of the deaths of Sept. 11, 2001, and the futility and violence of the ongoing war, I happened upon Carol MacDonald’s crow images and they make sense to me.  Not doves, crows: a new symbol of knowledge, warning, and peace.

Crow in the red maple tree, October 9, 2008.

Crow in the red maple tree, October 9, 2008.

4 thoughts on “– Crow season

  1. I have also noticed the many crows and starlings passing thru. The starlings fly in large flocks and when they converge on the feeder, little is left. A loud clapping is enough to send them on their way. It jworked, just this a.m. as I was leaving to see if I could catch a glimpse of the manatee that is off it’s usual course and feeding in a harbor in Cape Cod Bay.
    I learned just this past weekend that a certain ‘Jason’ is fond of crows. I think the artists card collection might be just the right gift.

    Thanks for the idea.

  2. Pingback: - That’s not a crow! That’s my grackle. « Leaf - Stitch - Word

  3. I remember you telling us all about Eli’s observation of the crows. Thank you for reminding me of it. He is a thinker.

    EE is right – a certain Jason does love crows. I like watching them – they are sleek and thin, with a blue black shine to their feathers. They don’t flit like smaller birds – they are purposeful and direct.

  4. Jane,
    Sorry I didn’t catch this post earlier. Carol MacDonald would love that you referenced her in your blog. I will write and tell her about it. For my recent birthday (April) Diane purchased one of MacDonald’s Crow Monoprints for me. It shows a crow sitting and staring out at a long road. It’s called “Road Less Taken.” I am a big fan of her work. I even took a class with her years ago.

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