I'm reading Czeslaw Milosz's "Issa Valley" because I read somewhere that it related the folk traditions and nature lore of his native land (Poland/Lithuania) more than any other of his works, including "Native Realm." Reading this book is like reading someone's summer journal. A bit disjointed, perhaps due to the translation, but a 'slice of (a different) life.'
I found myself interested in the occurences of crows in the narrative. I think I've already related on this blog my story of rescuing a crow in india, so i won't repeat it here. perhaps that partially explains my interest in crows. Let me give you a few examples from the book:
"The most eagerly awaited event of the (Easter) season was the performance on Holy Saturday. Fifteen- and sixteen-year old boys, after weeks of rehearsing, came running into the church with a roar, bearing dead crows lashed to poles. Devout old women, exhausted by a strict observance of the fast and by endless prayer, their heads drooping lower and lower, were suddenly roused from their drowsy meditations by a dead crow dangled before their noses."
(ahem, this doesn't sound like any christian folk-tradition of which i am aware)
The protagonist of the 'novel' is Thomas, an eleven year old boy. He has a secret; here's what he says about his secret through the narrator: "It went far beyond the usual - using foul language, say, or spying on girls swimming naked in the river, at the black crows beneath their navels.'
Crows again. and later in the book, they appear, walking on the ice floes, as one of the first signs of spring.
"Six months after the wedding, a baby son was born to Romuald and Barbarka. The thawing fields already bulged with naked black hummocks when an early April freeze forced them to take the sleigh to church. The baby was christened Witold. The sky was cloudy, crows cawed in the sallows, and Romuald's red-tasseled parade whip lazily flicked the horse's spine."
Well, it seems pretty clear that crows are associated with female fertility in the recollections of Czeslaw Milosz. Crows are associated with Devi in India.