Tag: murmuration

Murmuration Nation -“So Many Stories to Tell” Art Challenge

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Starling murmuration drawing by Artist BZTATFor an artistic challenge, I am making a series of drawings throughout the month of January, each telling a story, or capturing a moment that has been part of my story. I am calling this my “So Many Stories to Tell” Art Challenge.

Today’s drawing illustrates a metaphor used in a song by one of my favorite singer songwriters, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.

In her song, “Fly”, Saliers likens the early emergence of a protest movement  following the 2016 US presidential election to a natural phenomenon called murmuration.

Fly, with the flock
Over the land and the cities of the nation
You’ll know your moves simply by joining in the murmuration
Black wings across a beautiful sky, fly

Murmuration is a term used to describe the amazing flocking behavior of starlings. In a murmuration, thousands of birds will fly together in unison, forming undulating, fluid formations that move across the sky in constantly changing biomorphic patterns. The birds fly together with precision, responding to the flight pattern of the birds around them, connected though the forces of physics and instinct. Despite the changing patterns, the tightness of the formations, and the sheer mass of birds, no birds crash into each other, and none fall out of formation. Often, separate groups will join together, forming an even larger murmuration. 

Saliers uses the metaphor to describe the way that groups of people from various constituencies seemed to come together following the 2016 election in an unstructured manner, shape-shifting like birds, taking their cues from others, moving together in a beautiful swarm.

I am intrigued by the metaphor. I have been part of the swarm, and at times, it has felt just like that – moving together in unison, changing patterns, and relying on others to to know my next move. As a participant of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C, I was astounded at how thousands and thousands of people moved together amiably and in solidarity towards a common goal of resistance to a vulgar and corrupt President.

The metaphor only goes so far, however.

Human beings are not birds.

We are not gifted with the ability to fly. We have thought processes that override our instincts and physical reactions to conditions. And we can only submit to unstructured activity for so long. 

Over time, we inevitably crash into each other, as our egos and our different purposes and priorities conflict.

Starlings do not have to deal with sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, etc. They just fly.

Starlings do not have to deal with egos, ambitions, difference of opinions, selfishness, etc. They just fly.

Starlings do not have to deal with talking heads on TV and podcasts who overthink their methods and purposes for them. They just fly.

Starlings do not have to deal with Russian bots and MAGA trolls who manipulate their thoughts. They just fly.

We are not birds, but we can learn from our feathered friends. Although we will won’t achieve perfect flight, we can imagine ourselves in formation, and we can make every effort to reduce frictions that can lead us towards crashing into one another.

We can aspire towards the beautiful grace of murmuration by looking to others to find our moves, instead of always trying to script moves for others.

And we can recall those moments where we did come together in purity, and elevate those moments in our minds.

Seek to fly my friends, and when you find that forces are propelling you towards a crash, correct your course.


Each of my “So Many Stories to Tell” Art Challenge drawings will be placed for auction here on my blog.  You can follow each day’s drawing by by subscribing to my my blog or by following my posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Minimum bids will be low – you just might get a great artwork for a bargain!

Thanks for following along all month and for bidding on the drawings!

By the way, let me know what you would like to see me draw the rest of the month in the comments below. I am open to suggestions!

Here is the info about today’s drawing if you’d like to make a bid:

5″ x 7″ Prismacolor Pencil Drawing by artist BZTAT 

Comes with a matt ready for a 8X10″ frame.

Leave bids in increments of $5 below in the comments section.

Minimum Bid $25 USD

Shipping: $5 USA $15 International

BUY NOW OPTION: You can buy this piece now for $35 as long as no bids have been made in the comments below. Simply write BUY NOW in the comments and I will send you an invoice via Paypal which can be paid with a credit card or with PayPal.

Highest bid at 10:00 pm EST on Wednesday, 1/15/2020 wins the piece.

Winning bidder: I will send an invoice via Paypal to the winning bidder which can be paid with a credit card or with PayPal.

Please allow 2-3 weeks for USA shipping.

Life is an Adventure!