I already had my walk when the heart whispered, ‘Yet one more.’ To the lake I returned and chuckled when I realized I had taken the wrong path from where I thought I would go. Standing by the lake, I felt my feet sink down into the mud. Another giggle and with the giggle my breath and heart stopped. There before me was a large Canadian Goose feather barely peeking out of the mud and wet algae like grass. It was huge. Carefully I removed it, like a child opening a Christmas gift. Sweet tears were its first bath as I thanked the earth and her gentle creature for such a gift.
Holding it against me I continued to walk, my stutter hand so careful and gentle in its cradle. As I walk, another whispered, and another, until twenty five I had gathered. Some were buried in the mud, some were tucked beneath a rock like bookmarks. Twenty five gifts, excluding those, with joy and laughter I cleaned in the lake and then tossed them upward into the wind to know flight once more. Making my way back I looked to the lake. A flock of geese were leisurely swimming beneath the midday sun. I do so love their take off but dared not draw near. They had gifted such wonder, an undisturbed stroll upon the lake was my heart’s small token of thanks. I sat and watched, holding the treasures, and pondered all the miles they must have seen. What lakes, parks and cornfields had they visited? How many sunrises had they risen from the lake to ride the wind? I bid the flock a safe journey and that life would protect the mates. The geese mate for life. And why a tear always fall when I see only three in flight.
With careful hands I washed each feather and laid them out to dry. It occurred to me the narrow band of feathers told me if its wing was right or left. Their textures were different, some silky others were coarse. I wondered if you could really use the quill to write in ink. Oh would that not be grand- to write the word ‘Beauty’ with the quill and surround it with feathered beauty. If I could read, so much I would learn. But for now they are my teachers, as are the other feathered gifts who bid them welcome.
Wasn’t sure I would write this. I am silly sometimes and perhaps way too soft. But it occurred to me that one should not wash feathers alone, and so, in a small way, to share these gifts. A bookmark to return to when I am more wise. For now, I know the right and left wing and the tapping sound of human tears upon a feather…and that even when eyes cannot see, when the heart is open even a wrong path with mud and algae offer beauty. Beauty waiting.