Crow Journal 5

17 / 04 / 2023

Thoughts about crows, sightings, encounters, communication ... 
That was so nice, sending out the crow questionnaire, I mean. I got replies from quite a few people already and I think I will get replies maybe from others too. It was so nice to hear what people have to say and I think because the questions are so broad, you can really hear people thinking. It’s a good reminder. And it made me miss people, listening to their voices.


Some of them made one sound file, others seven. I’ve uploaded them all to a G-Drive file and I still have to convert them all the MP3s, which seemed easy enough with an online conversion website. There are two types of files. The app downloaded one kind from my phone and another kind entirely from the laptop. JBM also sent me a photo of his boyfriend’s dead baby crow tattoo. Apparently, it is a detail from some Victorian postcards he found celebrating spring. They had dead birds on them. Who knows why the Victorians found this celebratory or springlike, but there you go. 

I have a vivid memory of a crow this morning when C and I were walking to the library. He has ordered all the books about Reidar Särestöniemi in through the interlibrary loans system and so they are coming in a few at a time. This last one arrived on Sunday but we didn’t get down to the library on time to pick it up. It’s a big book with a red cover. Bloody. Thick pages. Chris is happy because all of Särestöniemi’s work in it is presented chronologically. I think he is planning to make a list of the works according to themes and features, but this is much helped when he is able to look at the works in time order. He said there was a character of a lynx that appeared early on in Särestöniemi’s work and then disappeared for a long time before resurging again.

Crows are like that for me, I think. They are always there, but sometimes they are on the surface. Sometimes they are deeper down. Not forgotten. Never forgotten.

This crow took off and flew away as we went past. It must have been sitting in the garden of the big yellow house that you can see better now that much of the snow has melted. The house with the dovecote and the small flock of cream-coloured doves that fly around in circles as though on the end of a lassoo. Chris saw it first. He said ‘Look!’ and pointed. I caught sight of it as it launched itself into the air. It was close. Black wings and grey body against that eye-aching blue that seems to be the everyday sky here this year. 

There is a gang of jackdaws that scatter and hurl themselves through town, mostly in the tall birches or on the steep pitch of the church roof.

There is a huge raven. I’ve seen it a few times now, over the forest. I’ve seen it over the mine tower, but also the other tower, deep in the trees. It called, croaking and hoarse, while we filmed Chris holding his hands and face up to the sky. There was a spot of dust on the lens but perhaps we can use the film anyway. 

I need to stop procrastinating on making this tryout performance. I need to actually start work on my crow mask and costume. I promise I will go to the shop tomorrow that sells the art supplies. I promise.

Ideas are forming. I can feel it.

Here is a kind of plan:

1) I will go down into the basement room where we do our morning training sessions and close the door and try not to think about the fact that the sound carries along the corridor where the washing machine is.

2) I will, beforehand, have prepared some sound files of crows. I will download them onto my phone so I can play them.

3) I will play the sound files on my phone and try to imitate them one by one. Of course the crow sounds could also be played through a speaker.

4) As I make these sounds I will put on the crow costume. I need to have a crow costume to put on, of course. I imagine that some of the feathers will be put on individually, perhaps pinned somehow, so I think this could take some time.

5) When I am the crow, with the costume on and the sounds silent, I will stand. As the best bits of the crow questionnaires are played through the speaker, I will move. 

6) I imagine this movement to be slow and sedate. Of course I need to develop some movement to move to. 

7) Wouldn’t it be great if lots of other crows joined me in the space unexpectedly.