Symbolism
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The Crane: Between Swamps and
Celestial Vastness

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Crane


A bird that always fascinated me and at the same time left me somewhat bewildered is the crane.

First, it fascinates because of its snow white color, which pleases me greatly.

Then, because of its construction, so to speak, where from that white body emerges a delicate and elegantly curved neck, at the end of which we find a small head and very long beak, which seems to symbolize its capacity to catch things, foresee situations and act from a distance.

And all this over two very thin legs. One only perceives it is moving when, in an elegant step with those long legs, the crane opens its foot with its long thin toes and walks. It is an elegance in walking that has distinction, like one who commands an empire: The crane commands with such elegance and authority over the miniscule territory where she is queen that to see her move pleases anyone who appreciates the principle of authority.

Upon observing her, one sees what in fact she is doing. If she were capable of thinking, the heron would make a reasoning like this:

“What a life I lead! My legs are so fragile that anything can break them. I have to walk with such care. I am made to live in rivers, lakes and swamps and to find my food in the vermin that everyone considers dirty. I am, in my snowy whiteness, a predator of insects and frogs that repel the whole world, yet these must be my delicacies. My beak, so long, so selective, so demanding, is a capturer of little things, of little pests that everyone else would reject. What a life I lead!”

The crane might think that she is condemned to the swamp's empire and this disgusting banquet. How sad, then, she would find her life...

However, at one point, some instinct moves in her. She spreads her wings and flies.

Adios swamps! Adios little vermin! The crane also has the air. Above everything, she has the vast expanses of the sky. The sun enlightens her wings and makes them glitter like snow. Now her long legs seem like filaments that elegantly extend her stature. She cuts through the air with a flight even more elegant than that of her steps. It is here that the crane lives her grand days.


heron in flight




Posted November 29, 2014
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