What have you lost that might have seemed silly but made you hopeful until you decided well… even that makes no difference now at all? What represents hope or an idea of God knowing and knowing you?
Today I found something and I almost told my husband. But, I realized the joy of my finding would be lost on him and I needed to keep that joy, I’d gotten a little low. I needed to start a new reserve.
I was determined to find it. I fully expected to see the flash of blue in the very same spot. I walked yesterday and saw the lifeless bright blue bird in the thick green grass.
It bothered me so. I kept walking and self-talking.
It means nothing at all, I told myself, likely the bird intersected a passing car and landed there.
But, it was so vibrant in color. I thought of pulling a feather from its completely still frame.
But, I didn’t. Same as two days before. A large hawk or goose feather was laying in the grass along my walking road. I’d normally be excited. I wouldn’t care at all who saw me. I’d walk back home swinging my arms and striding in my fast way. One hand holding my phone, the other clutching a feather as big as my two hands lined up together. I’d bring it inside and I’d stick it in an old bottle.
Instead, I walked on.
Paranoid over something I skimmed about chickens and flu and thinking I’d have all the germs of the feather on my hands and I was only halfway back home. I let it lay.
I regretted it. The next day, I went back looking. The large white edged with brown and grey feather was gone.
So, I thought about it, tried to shake it off, this cynical me I’ve become.
Tried to stop my thinking that God has no notice of me and all of a sudden I’d become unaffected by feathers, I’d become very unseen and afraid.
Two weeks ago, barely steps from our house, a sparrow lay next to the gravel, the tiny brown baby so upset my soul.
So, I thought again. There’s meaning here. Nary a feather have I seen, but a bird on the ground on the side of the road. Is there significance in this for me? Is there a pattern? Is it deadly?
What did it mean? Nothing, I insisted, there is no reason to believe lifeless birds have a message for you.
But, I believed differently. So, I struck out early and I wanted to either see the blue feathers left there or I wanted to see that the bluebird had somehow found strength and flown.
I saw neither. No bird. No feathers. I walked on toward the place with the deep dip, the place where the red birds fly over without exception.
Not this morning. Well. This too?
It’s early, I decided; the birds have an evening path, not morning.
I continued on.
Why the cynic now? Why has my belief in feathers faded? Why had I not seen any? Why was I pretending it didn’t matter?
Steps close to the curb and face towards my feet, I see it and bend down. It’s black and all mottled by rain. You best bet I keep it.
I carry on past the place where the feather was scary and I long to have another chance, see another maybe.
Instead, my steps continue and suddenly a flurry from a paper box delivers! A bluebird so blue it’s nearly blinding and it surprised me!
See! I told you!
it seemed to say, you didn’t see the one you ached to discover but here, it is me!
I am here!
I smiled, smiled and kept walking until I saw it.
A pristine little one nested amongst the leaves, a soft fuzzy tail white feather.
So, I clutch the pair between my fingers and I turn for home.
Thinking every bit of my bird and feather encounter matters. Every bit! The tiny dead sparrow, the hawk wing feather that made me so leery, the precious limp blue winged creature, brilliant although lifeless.
And my longing, it matters, my longing to again long for feathers.
All of it. My confusion, my fear, frustration over not knowing and cynicism over something as simple as a feather.
All my feels. All my feather stories.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
It all matters. Sadness, sorrow and surprise revelations that say
Continue and believe. You have more stories. Stories of life interspersed with symbols of sorrow.
Stories of feathers, of God, of your life and love of birds.
Evening now, time for walk number two. I’ll be hoping the place where the trail dips and turns will happily greet me with two flashes of red, the cardinal couple.
And maybe, just maybe another feather.