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:
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.