Wednesday morning, while drawing open a set of bedroom curtains, I noticed three crows perched on the fence panel between mine and a neighbours garden. Although if truth be told, as my ornithology knowledge contains glaring voids they could’ve just as easily been ravens.
Anyhow, witnessing this trinity of black avians chirping amongst themselves upon their timber stand brought to mind the birds in Walt Disney’s animated version of Dumbo. A bunch whose banter consisted of predominantly witty wordplay, underpinned with genuine care for the large lugged elephants plight.
As I don’t talk crow (or raven) I’ve absolutely no idea whether these noir plumaged fellows were cracking quips as they enthusiastically chewed the fat, or seed. Or. whatever the equivalent avian expression is for a hearty natter. They looked happy enough, though, so I’m going to utilise an element of licence artistique and say they were.
Why this vision brought forth Disney’s 1941 movie, which was allegedly made to recoup the money lost on Fantasia, is anybody’s guess. After all, there were four crows in the animation not a trio as witnessed by me. Nor were the feathered fellas singing ‘If I See An Elephant Fly’;not to mention there was absolutely no hint of an airborne pachyderm about to join the party.
However, irrespective of this landscape bearing nothing in common other than both sets of crows communicating amongst themselves, that comparison still randomly found its way into my conscious mind.
As an aside, despite being allegedly made to recoup money lost on Fantasia it didn’t stop Dumbo’s production team including the hallucinogenic trippy scenes which’d proved so unpopular in the previous animation.
That being said, Leonard Maltin on the BBC Culture webpages argues “Fantasia alone should silence nay-sayers who only see Disney as a commercial populist; 75 years after its debut on 13 November 1940, it remains one of the most astonishing films ever to come from Hollywood.”
Despite it’s undeniably brilliant animation and moving classical soundscape (including compositions from Beethoven and Mussorgsky), Fantasia isn’t a movie I’ve ever took much enjoyment from viewing, either in childhood or adulthood. Then again I’m not a movie critic, who am I to dispute the advocacy of a BBC correspondent?….. Well, other than to say yours truly knows what I like and am entitled to my opinion. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Leonard
Anyhow back to my early morning vision……..
I got to thinking which epiphanies would’ve manifested if I’d concluded the birds witnessed had’ve been ravens?…. Would it have been thoughts of Beefeaters at the Tower of London, who’re oft accompanied by those particular black avians?…. Or would I have penned an homage to the eponymous character in Edgar Allen Poe’s haunting poem Raven?
Yours truly guesses the very fact I’ve just raised those two possibilities very strongly hints one or both would’ve predominantly stood as today’s main essay topic. That being said, one can never tell what epiphany the creative mind will unearth at any given time.
Merely from the editing process itself I know how notions always become included, augmented or dumped from the original draft. There’s never a piece of work that can’t be improved upon in the edit, or potentially made worse if a good idea gets cut on a re-read. A fact that ordinarily stops me from revisiting my journals once published; as I oft get annoyed when spot a way an old piece of prose can be improved upon (as my mind sees it at that different juncture, anyhow)………. To close, my Ode To The Crows:-
“What does thou natter crow?
Talk of upcoming Fall or far off snow?
Sadness contrary Mary’s garden no longer grow?
Or o’ergrown turf requiring a mow?
Black plumaged Corvus viewing my haven
Seeking bird bath with which to laven
Wintertide no place for the craven
Apologies if you’re indeed a raven.“