We were taking a sunset ride on the lake, but I was distracted, barely noticing the painterly clouds and sky. Suddenly my husband shut off the boat, jumped out of his chair, laid on his stomach, and grabbed something in the water. He stood up and handed me a fluffy white feather with a perfect black circle at the top. Whatever I was fretting about faded away, and I felt myself relax and soften into the moment.
Feathers are one of nature’s most beautiful and magical gifts. Mike and I have given them to each other for years. In many cultures, feathers represent a connection to the spiritual realm, and people often believe they are a sign from angels or a loved one. Isn’t it curious how feathers appear at the oddest of moments and in the strangest of places?
Imagine picking up a feather that has fallen in your path. Hold it in your hand. Look closely at its anatomy. How marvelous!
Native Americans thought of the feather’s hollow quill as a way to send prayers and receive blessings from the creator. The quill divides the feather into two parts, perhaps representing two sides of ourselves. The downy fluff at the base of a feather symbolizes our continuous growth. The many vanes of the feather are our individual days and the choices we make.
With those amazing parts of a feather, birds can fly. Let that soak in for a second. They fly! They soar with nothing more than simple feathers like the one Mike gave me, the one I took home and put in a glass bowl with the others as a reminder.
Because for all their symbolism and scientific wonder, for me, feathers are a reminder to stay soft.
The world can make us hard and bitter. It can cause us to view life as a struggle and a competition. We can begin to see the dark instead of the light, fear instead of hope. It can make us clench our minds like a tight and angry fist.
But, a feather ~ a feather stays beautifully soft and powerfully gentle, no matter where the wind takes it. With that frame of mind, we all could soar.