A story which occurred to me when I picked up this feather whilst out walking. Feeling the wind push against it, trying to lift it, was a marvellous moment for me :)
Marvellous Moments #1 - Feather
Cara stooped, grabbed up the feather lying on the tow path and swiftly held it aloft to prevent Snaps liberating it. At six months, her retriever was living up to his name, retrieving everything and snapping it up to be presented at Cara’s feet with a goofy, tongue-lolling grin. She hurled one of his battered tennis balls into the undergrowth and he was off.
The feather, twirling in her fingers, probably belonged to one of the rooks who held chaotic court in a stand of nest-laden oaks on her left. She wasn’t clued up enough to know for sure, but the black had a shimmering hint of blue down one side, dancing in the dappled sunlight. A stray breeze caught the feather when held up to the light and she felt the ghostly tug as it tried to break free. Cara tucked it behind her ear, spent 5 minutes rooting Snaps out of the water weeds and ambled home.
Just after midnight, Snaps decided he really, really needed to use the amenities. Cara was pretty sure it had more to do with the intriguing scuffling, rustling and calling which emanated from the wild patch she hadn’t yet got round to clearing out since moving in. Still, it was a still night, a full moon swimming in a star-speckled sea, and sleep was elusive. She watched the dog hurtle down the back steps and disappear into the gloom, accompanied by several excited yips and wuffs.
Settling onto the porch swing, running a hand through her hair, Cara was surprised to feel the stiff prickle of her feather. She chuckled, wondering if she might actually have slept with it tucked safely through a curl. Once again the wind tugged playfully at the feather, Cara marvelling at the force. It almost felt like she could take off with maybe one or two more, so strong was the pull. She closed her eyes for a moment, twirling the feather against her lips.
Slowly, by degrees, Cara began to feel light, ephemeral, as if a breath of breeze would whisk her away. Her hair seemed to stream back, tendrils tickling at her eyelids, cheeks and neck. She caught the scent of damp leaves, rich earth and mossy bark. An owl screeched, a fox screamed, and far below something scuttled, hunted, fleeing. She felt her body turn, passing within inches of a tree branch, leaves whistling by, occasionally dripping the night’s rain. Her wings stretched, flexed, curved and straightened, aiding her flight. She had never felt so free, so light, so alive.
Alighting within the rookery, she felt the warmth, scented the musky feathery oneness of her mate beside her, head cocked, inquisitive, questioning with those intelligent eyes. Who are you, for you are not she? He shook out his feathers, crowed softly and dipped his head twice. It felt like dismissal but she had no desire to go. This was life, unfettered, raw and wonderful.
She felt a coldness. A damp insistence at her wing tip… her… fingers? A low, uncertain snuffling, heaviness against her wing… arm? A low wuff and she was back, Snaps bounding off and back now equilibrium was restored, licking her hand. His attentions caught her off-guard, the feather slipping from her grasp and streaking into the moonlit air. A shadow crossed the moon, a rook, flying home after its strange adventure.
“Thank you” Cara whispered, her mind still floating, her heart light as she returned to the house, Snaps grinning at her heel.