Every morning as a child I would wake to the Earth rotating on its axis, letting the sun creep around the curvature of our planet and in through my window. Heat from its beam warmed my face and leaked through my eyelids. Before even opening my eyes I would hear the emphatic squawking of crows congregating outside my bedroom. I always hated those birds. Little did I know later in life their ancient message would become a journey into myself and the world around me, an ongoing project, a learning experience.
As a documentarian I search for the unknown, uncontrollably curious about the universe and what she has to offer. July 2010: a solo trip along the East Coast to “find myself.” I observed everyday interactions in different cities. Along with other videos I started recording myself playing music in each location I visited. These shorts were meant as nothing more than documentation of my existence. I did not give much thought about the project ‘til reaching Portland, Maine. There I met with longtime friend and artist Watson Atkinson. He offered artistic advice, a few places to explore.
On the summit of Mt. Battie I perched high over picturesque Camden. Toy sailboats bobbed up and down the rocky coastal edge as tiny antlike beings shuffled the sidewalks. A steady hum of automobiles trickled winding roads. My eyes embraced the atmospheric curve from an elevated vantage. A nearby sign contained a passage of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Renascence. She was twenty when it was published. I sat a hundred yards from where this very passage was written:
“The world stands out on either side,
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat – the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.”
I spent that night close to Mt. Battie, consciously connecting with the above words so beautifully encapsulating my journey thus far. I rummaged a few books I had on my person, fortuitously stumbling upon the Native American meaning of the Crow. In native mythology the Crow is considered keeper of sacred law. She teaches there are not one, two, or three worlds, but many. The Crow brings balance, peace, and joy in exploration, as well as help in valuing ourselves. This is the moment I realized I want to use my skills to bring joy, knowledge, and positive thinking to a bigger audience.
The next morning I made way back to Portland. I met with Watson once again to share my revelation. We sunk ourselves in a quest for the artistic soul. At sunrise we left the bank of the Saco River by rickety canoe, spontaneous assemblage tethered by twine and gathered objects. By torchlight to the center of the river I documented, in silence, Watson’s poem Ocean of Twine. Footage from this morning meditation became a three part video series called “Eye of the Crow.”
Arriving in my Atlanta home with clarity of conscience and a vitalized passion for creating I gathered my things, bound for New Orleans, where I currently reside. From Louisiana I continue work on Eye of the Crow in many ways, through the tribal roots of our musical souls, the magic of experience, and the process of growing. My intention is to share the freedom life offers upon loosening the strictures of societal grasp on humanity. Working together to understand our collective unconsciousness and regrouping as a whole will revolutionize the world for the better. Life is short with many adventures waiting. Go out and seek experience, learn, and share amongst each other.