A Pocket Full Of Feathers

They’ve been popping up everywhere.  Slightly curled and snow-white, some small and downy, others larger and a bit more robust.  I find them laying in our yards, and scattered all along the walking trail, like angelic bread crumbs.

White Heron feathers.

It’s my habit to put things in my pocket when I walk, and the feathers are no different.  A small handful in a dish sits in my living room where I can see it regularly.  These feathers are a reminder.  An affirmation.

Having walked this neighborhood for three years, finding an abundance of these particular feathers everywhere is unusual although seeing the birds themselves isn’t.  There are several waterways nearby and herons fly over head regularly.  I caught this big guy – a Blue Heron – hanging out with a couple of buddies a few months back.

Herons are rich in symbolism and no one does Animal Speak better than Avia over at What’s Your Sign.  If you have a moment, hitch a ride over to her place on this LINK and check out the full spectrum of Heron Symbolism.  You’ll understand why finding so many of these feathers is nothing less than supercalifragilistic during this season in my life.

Today I wrap up my first week at Habitat For Humanity, and – in a word –  it’s been AWESOME.  The work itself is rewarding and fun.  But more than that, it’s the people I’m working with that is so exciting.  I’m still getting to know everyone but I can already tell these are some great folks.  Most of them are volunteers, under 30, and really love what they are doing.  After a decade working in a toxic waste dump, this is like heaven!

I also attended the first of The Write Page writer’s group meetings.  Held 20160511_200607_resizedat the Katie Wheeler Library, an old Victorian built by an Irish immigrant who turned out to be the grand daddy of our county, it’s a combination of so many things I just love! About 30 of us ranging from 18 to 80….newbie college kids to old-time journalists and representing at least a half-dozen nationalities…all share the common bond of loving the written word.  I’m already learning so much and can’t wait for the next meeting!

My tribe – my NEW tribe – is coming together.  My new life is coming together, too.  The feeling is indescrible after such a long, solitary and difficult season.  Sure, there are still bits to add to the picture – a great paying part-time job, for one – but I know it’s coming.  I know.  Grace is surrounding me.

My peeps and a pocket full of feathers.  What a great day to be alive.  Think I’ll go for a walk before work.

Who knows what I might find.

When The Wild Things Speak

Continued from the previous post…

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Sitting in the shade of the old olive tree in her back yard, her eyes red and swollen from crying and the weed she had smoked, The Woman stared off into inner space and pondered her next move.

After a year of soul wrenching self-examination, spiritual inquiry, and marital counseling, it still wasn’t enough to save her marriage and she knew she needed out. No longer a matter of “IF”, her brain whirled with all the other questions of “When”, “How” and “OMG Can I Do This?”

Middle-aged with two teenagers to support, the prospect of starting over again was damn scary. Was it right to jump off the cliff into the unknown because SHE was miserable? Because SHE needed a new life? While The Woman understood that life couldn’t go on the way that it had been, she longed for some sign that she was making the right decision. That she could have – and deserved – a different sort of life.

And that’s when she saw it.

It appeared from behind the house, a small blood-colored streak that came to a sudden stop in perfect parallel to the ground – a gymnast using all six hands to firmly grasp the Agapanthus growing in the planter not more than 10 feet away from where she sat.

It stayed motionless for several minutes while she looked on, afraid to move lest her little visitor startle and fly off. Eyes wide in excitement, smiling from ear to ear,  The Woman boggled at the biggest, reddest dragonfly that she had ever seen. What a beauty!

As she watched, the insect shifted slightly to get a better hold on the plant, it’s translucent wings sparkling under the summer sun like they were webs of gold dust.

“Hiya, little buddy!” She greeted her winsome guest internally, not wanting to scare it away by speaking out loud. “Oh, aren’t you a beauty!”

“Hello!”

A tinkling bell of a word that was at once human and Other floated across the space between them, landing in her mind. Or was it her heart? The Woman’s eyes widened at the sound, and her insides instantly snapped to attention.

The dragonfly remained still on its perch. Alien eyes, round and dark, appeared to be looking directly at her, penetrating and knowing.

“HELLO!” A little louder, a little more emphatic this time.

And just like that, all thoughts of trouble and despair were replaced with a joy so profound, so…unusual…it caught her breath at the intensity. The dragonfly was speaking to her!

“Yes, I am speaking. I’ve been sent to tell you that All Is Well. Even though you can’t see it now, even though you don’t know how everything will work or what you will do, life will not always be this hard…this painful. Better days are coming and healing is here. You and your children are safe and will be cared for. A deep transformation is happening in you – So deep that one day you will look back at this time and it will be as if it had happened to another person. Do not be afraid. Trust.  Do the next right thing. Forgive and bless your journey. You are not alone, and you are so dearly and forever loved.”

Whether a minute passed, or an hour, she didn’t know and didn’t care. The Woman smiled while tears streamed down her face, unabated. Tears of wonder…of release….

Of hope.

While her mind tried to analyze away the magic and miracle of what was happening, her heart told her that it was TRUE.  God had sent a messenger to her, and with renewed faith in a future she couldn’t see, she felt peace envelop her like a warm embrace.

The dragonfly rearranged it’s wings, turned it’s head, and lifted two front legs in a gesture that resembled hands in Prayer. After several more minutes in companionable silence, the woman in her chair and the dragonfly on her stem, the crimson messenger lifted up and flew away.

Thank you! The Woman’s heart whispered after her new friend. Thank you!!! 

Getting up slowly, not wanting to break the mood, she went inside to lay down and slept like she hadn’t slept in months. She knew now what she had to do.

And she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they would be alright.

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This is a true story. It happened to me.  Before you Poo Poo the thought of an animal speaking or dismiss it as the hallucinations of a stoner, I would encourage you to keep an open mind.  We don’t know what we miss through unbelief. (smiling) Life is far more magical and mysterious than we know. 

That wasn’t the last time that an animal spoke to me.  I have more stories.  Just remember: All living things have a voice – we only need to listen!

This is a photo of a red dragonfly that I took in 2007 while visiting the Huntington Library with my then ex-husband. We had divorced 2 years earlier, and remained friends through the process. 3 more years, and all of the kids grown and on their own, we reconciled completely and remarried Easter weekend, 2012.  The Dragonfly’s message was absolutely spot on.  Better days did come.

dragonfly