The Feather

By Ariel Kane
feather in case

The Feather

I keep a feather in my eyeglass case. I used to have a small, downy, bald eagle feather but that one flew away without my noticing it. I treasured it for a year and a half before it’s departure. I guess it was ready for a new home in the southern hemisphere for I last saw it in Argentina. That’s okay, I have a new one now.

I found the replacement when I was hunting for discarded feathers under a monk parakeet nest at a fishing lodge on an Argentinian preserve. Monk parakeets are noisy, social creatures, green and grey birds that nest in colonies. Daily, while I was there, I searched for discarded plumage under their nests and I felt like Piglet or Pooh from Winnie-the-Pooh as I went round and round the base of the trees in search of blue gray or green feathered jewels on the ground.

feather in caseAs I circled a tree one morning, there appeared one unexpected find – A feather with coloration I’ve never seen before. The base was mainly brown with ripples of cream on the outer edges, the spine of the feather a bright lemon yellow. It sparked my imagination, having it take wing. Later that day, I tucked the feather in my case, providing a nest for my glasses. Each time I retrieve my glasses or put them away, this rippled beauty is a simple reminder of the world at large – for it’s all too easy to get lost in the fantasy of books or slip down the rabbit hole of Facebook and forget about tangible things. It’s also a gentle reminder about Being Here.

My glasses are fragile and their light titanium frames can be bent out of shape if they are treated roughly or shoved into their case without awareness. But if I’m here to admire the delicacy of the single moment as I put them away or unfold them for use, then I won’t turn the edges of my feather ragged either.

The edges of my life are so easy to fray when I am not here in my hands or when my eyes stray to where I am going, dismissing where I am.

My little feathered treasure is a simple reminder of the exquisite nature of this moment when I am here for it.

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