I have written before about the feathers. Two years ago, it began in mid-July: I realized one day that I had been finding a feather every single day for about two weeks. I kept watch, then, and realized that, until early September, I found a feather almost every single day.
Last year, it was longer: early July through the end of September. I needed feathers then. I was jumping off a cliff into a new and unknown wind, and I needed the reminder that my wings would carry me. They did. I used the idea to talk to my students about how we make the meaning in our lives, how the Science me said, “Yes, there are owls hard at work in the holler, and the little birds are feeding the next generation of owlets.” But the Poet me said, “Yes, I needed an affirmation from outside myself that I had wings that would catch the wind, and the message was feathers.” I get to choose the meaning for my own story. And both meanings carry a certain truth, enriching each other. We all choose our meanings, even when we’re not aware of consciously doing so.
This year, back in early August, I had a run of about a week of feather-finding. I thought I was back in business, but then I didn’t find any for a couple weeks. Now again, for the past ten days or so, I have found a feather every day, sometimes at home, and sometimes at school.
Another shifting meaning story that came my way again today is that of the Palimpsest, the old vellum manuscripts which were scraped when one text was no longer necessary, and new words written on the pages. Highly valued by modern researchers, the re-appearance of the “under-text” gives historians not one but two texts to work with.
When reading a palimpsest, you must look beyond the surface text to read the deeper meaning. A colleague of mine today showed me his journal, an altered book, in which he is using gesso to white out old text and writing his own text on top. We got to talking about how people are palimpsests, too–how important it is to read beneath the surface to the deeper “text” that shines through the surface layers.
1. Challenging conversations. I am learning to balance the speaking and the listening, I think. Still, there is so much to learn, so much to practice.
2. The miracle of the heart, of the heartbeat.
4. Feathers and flight.
May we walk in Beauty!