Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Friday, 27 January 2017

Of Rome and Crows....

Andrew, Nathaniel and I went to Rome, at the end of November, just a month before Nathaniel died. We went to meet up with Andrew's sister Edie, her husband Fred, and their daughter Julia - who'd just finished a semester studying in Prague.

Natey was just over 2 years old, not necessarily an ideal age for a grand tour of arguably the most historical and beautiful city in the world... Still we were up for anything, and usually he was too, so off we went.

Rome was magnificent. It is simply awe inspiring, and just amazing. Everything is breathtaking and impressive and beautiful, and over-the-top in terms of size, decoration, beauty and embellishment. We were enthralled. And Natey lapped it all up with us.

As usual we were travelling with Natey on our backs, in our trusty, well used and very loved African Baby Carrier  - gifted to me by a colleague - where he could see everything, chat, or sleep if he got tired. We made sure to focus on things he'd enjoy too - very easy because he would get excited by each and every bus/truck/police car/ambulance/fire truck/stone/bird - but for the most part we were really just touring around like 'normal' people and Natey was quite content to come along for the ride. Of course Andrew's 'Jewish Mama' tendencies also made sure there were always snacks on hand, which also generally smooths the way for good cooperation from everyone else too...

Anyhow, the point is we spent a good 5 days thoroughly exploring the sites and marvels of Rome, with Nathaniel seeming to genuinely be enjoying all of it. In fact the biggest 'problem' we had with him was trying to get him to stop exploring for long enough for us to be able to enjoy dinner.

The photos are on Facebook: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6.

The day after we arrived we decided to dive right in and do the Vatican city first thing. We walked there from our apartment in the morning, and managed to get in relatively quickly and easily. It turned out the Vatican City museum has something like 56 galleries. Yikes! Expecting not to able to see very much we identified a short 'must see' selection, but then remarkably went through a really good number of them, until we were all exhausted and pretty much walked-out.

Natey would point to things and comment on things he saw in the paintings, sculptures and tapestries, and seemed to be enjoying himself - especially when feeding the pigeons in the courtyard. In fact my only 'complaint' was that he was so chatty that I didn't get to listen to much on the audio-guide I had.

By late afternoon we headed into the Sistine Chapel, and took in the beautiful ceiling...
After leaving the Museum we headed to St Peter's Basilica nearby.

As we walked through the door Nathaniel gasped on my back and spontaneously said; "It's huuuge... It's so beautiful!"

I got goosebumps right then (and every single time since then that I mention or even think about it). I was astounded. Not only because I had no idea he knew the words 'huge' or 'beautiful'... but also because what 2 year old notices and appreciates a cathedral?

He seemed to be awestruck. He was just gazing upwards and saying, "It's so beautiful" over and over as I walked around.
After a while I took him off my back so he could walk around. He toddled around just looking at everything, in a happy, but pretty calm way. After a while he lay down in the middle of the floor, staring up at the ceiling. I was again amazed. Sadly it didn't take long for the security to arrive to tell us that no lying on the floor was allowed... so we had to pick him up.

The whole experience was so surreal and other-worldly and gave me shivers.

For the whole of December. Every few days Natey would look at me and say, "I want to go on an aeroplane again. I want to go to Rome". I just assumed he wanted to go on holiday again. But did he?

While in Rome I kept seeing crows. They showed up all over the place. I remember thinking, and even commenting on them, as it seemed a bit incongruous to me. Why were these crows in a place so full of 'angels'?

I didn't think about it much. In fact I completely forgot about it, until the other day.

Back at work in December in our main big meeting room, while having a big management team working session. A big crow appeared at the sky-light window and started knocking on the glass. And kept on and on. I kept seeing it, but no one else seemed to notice. I remember thinking it was a bit weird and eerie.

Also on that last afternoon with Natey, as I mentioned before,  while we were at The World of Birds, at one point as we walked through one of the bottom cages (the herons I think?), there was a bush-lined fence blocking the cage to our right. The top had some open space. A large crow suddenly caw'ed loudly and pecked at the fence in our direction. We squealed and got a fright. My sister said "That's a bad omen" and then had to explain what that meant to her son... Afterwards she said 'I don't know why I said that??". We didn't think much of it and just continued our visit.

Then a few days after Natey died. I was walking on my own. I had ended up walking most of my usual running route. As I came back up the hill and neared the place where the ambulances had met us on the road and where they worked on Natey at the side of the road (I really struggle to pass that section every time now), I stepped over a large black feather. I stopped to pick it up, and was compelled to put it with his little pile of memories.

(When I did it I had forgotten about the crows in Rome and also the one at work.)

Then on Sunday nearly 2 weeks ago now, a friend I have know for years (online) but just met in person during Natey's shiva, and was drawn to, asked if she could come fetch me and take me for a drive along the coast and to drink wine. I went. We started driving, and she suddenly realised she needed petrol and had forgotten to bring money. We turned back to go to her house - which was nearby. She jumped out to go run inside and then came back and said, "Hey do you want to come inside?". I was going to say no. Then decided, why not? So I walked in behind her and through to the lounge. Where mounted on the wall is a large stuffed crow!
I was a bit gob-smacked. She said: "Yeah that's Cedric. I love crows, they are my spirit animals". She went on, "People misunderstand them and think they are bad omens, evil, or bad luck... but really they are just messengers between the living and the dead."

Wow, ok...

I suddenly started getting a vision of a tattoo, which I think I want to get, and which somehow now represents Natey.

I told someone at work about this weird crow theme. Feeling slightly insane. But then I walked away, came back to see her again a short while later. She was not at her desk so I stood there a bit lost for a few seconds and turned around to walk away. As I turned I saw a figurine on the next person's desk of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones (incidentally my favourite character)... aka The King Crow.

Since then I have seen crows flying almost every day when I drive home. Andrew thinks I am mad, and that they were always there, in Grassy Park, near the cemetery. OK fine... but then why were there suddenly 2 flying over Green Point park when I went for a walk there the other day too?

And then just last night, Griffin got home after Scouts, he was sitting on the bed chatting to me... after a while I said 'What's that on your arm..?'. It was his patrol badge... he is in the 'Ravens' patrol now. Of course!

I have been wondering if crows/black birds are my 'sign'. And do I even 'believe' in signs? I want to. So I am drawn to go for a 'reading' with an 'intuitive'.

I actually have a session booked for Saturday morning now, to see what comes up.

Last week I went to see a friend she is a doula/ aromatherapist/ colour therapist/ crystal healer etc etc. At one point she pulled out her Astrology book to find my 'sun' (son?) sign. It is Leo. So she turned to the Leo page and there was this illustration of a mighty gladiator type man-Lion (Leonidas?) standing... in Rome. The Colosseum was clearly visible.

Rome and Crows, what are you trying to tell me?


  1. Gosh really think there's meaning behind all this Jane. I did some research of my own. Crows definitely have some sought of spiritual sense. Wow.

    Crow Power Animal Symbol Of Sacred Law Change

    By Ina Woolcott

    Many cultures consider crows to be the keepers of the Sacred Law, for nothing escapes their keen sight. To have a Crow as a power animal is extremely powerful stuff. When we meditate on the crow and align with it, we are instilled with the wisdom to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and laws. We are taught to appreciate the many dimensions of both reality and ourselves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity.

    Crows often appear in groups, and though there seems to be no variation in their caw-ing to each other, each caw actually has a different meaning. Their complex vocabulary is one sign of their intelligence, and is also a sign of their significance as power animals. When a crow explores something new, others watch closely to see what happens and then learn from it. They often make great noise when hunters are around, warning deer and other birds. Crows recognise potential danger and hence always post lookouts when feeding. This is their most vulnerable time. This helps us understand that we must watch what we believe, to test our habitual ideas about reality against a more universal standard.

    Without paying careful attention, we are unable to understand the language of crows, this signifies the fact that we can’t always see beyond our own cultural limitations. These limitations include certain moral codes of right and wrong, along with ‘rules’ that accompany these codes.

    Throughout history there have been many (unnecessary) conflicts and wars between humans due to differing moral and religious beliefs. To truly create a new age of love, peace and harmony it is of high importance for us to be able to transcend our particular cultural limitations and to hold in our hearts and souls what we share as spiritual beings in human form. We are all connected, infinitely and composed of the same ‘stuff’. We need to realise that hurting others only hurts ourselves. Crow is the bird which represents this transcendence.

    Crow can also teach us to be mindful about judging people automatically. Be mindful of your opinions and actions. You need to walk your talk, to speak your truth and to know your life’s mission. Again, trust your intuition and personal integrity, to create your own standards, whether or not they matc those of the world around you. Be an individual, think for yourself, don’t necessarily follow the crowd!

    In the courting process the male crow’s voice takes on a singing quality. This lets us see what the basis of sacred law is, unconditional love, the one unfailing principle by which we can test our own principles.

  2. ... Crow is an omen of change. Crows live in the void and have no sense of time, therefore being able to see past, present and future simultaneously. They unite both the light and the dark, both the inner and the outer. Crow is the totem of the Great Spirit and must be held with utmost respected. They are representations of creation and spiritual strength.

    Crows are messengers, telling us about the creation and magic all around us, that is available to us just for the asking. Look for opportunities to bring into being the magic of life. The striking black colour of the crow represents the colour of creation. It is the womb out of which the new comes into existence. Black is the colour of the night, giving birth to the light of a new day.

    Crows are sly and can be deceptive in their actions. They have been known to build false nests high in treetops to confuse predators. Their nests are built very high up, giving them the chance to watch everything that is going on around them.

    As crows are adaptable to all environments and will eat almost anything, they can survive in almost any situation. Crow is surrounded by magic, unseen forces and spiritual strength. If crow enters your life, get out of your familiar nest, look beyond your present range of vision, listen to the message(s) in its caw and act accordingly.

    1. Everything I looked up seems to be linked


  4. Dear Jane, all my sympathy for you and your family. Your experience has made me cry and go and hug my little ones an extra time for a few days now..
    I can't even imagine how you must feel. Your story about the crows is interesting, I read a short book recently about crows and grief that came into mind whilst reading this, its beautifully written - Grief is the thing with feathers by Max Porter.
    Peaceful weekend to you

  5. I don't believe this is all coincidence and I do think their is spiritual significance in this bird, the number 30 and even in what he actually saw in Rome that day. Even Natey in asking you if you were happy and telling you that you were beautiful that last day. I don't have answers like any of us but I believe in an after life which some call heaven or other names too.
    I know this is cheesy but I watch Long Island Medium with Theresa Caputo on channel 135 and I see the comfort people get from their loved ones that have died. They exist and they know.
    Are our days carefully pre numbered? Are we here exactly as long as we should be? I don't know if our days are pre ordained. I am rambling here. Be kind to yourself. xxx

  6. Wow, just wow, Jane. I know that a 2 year old can appreciate beauty and art. I remember my eldest as a 23 month old spotting all the Baby Jesuses having milky in the Louvre. And adoring that statue of his. However, it is special and a sign of Natey's larger-than-lifeness that his 2 year old appreciation of beauty went to the size of the basilica and the beauty of its ceiling. It makes me sad that X doesn't remember the Louvre and his appreciation of it, but in losing that, I gained his future self. I bleed for you that you have lost both.