Hope is the Thing With Feathers.

Another week of sad, heartbreaking, awful, terrible news.

I was sitting on my patio.  It was 86 degrees at 7:30 am. The air was  numbingly still, suffocatingly hot (week long heat wave: not good) . I was already exhausted by the weather, the news, and the future.

My head drooped, my eyes barely focused on the bricks on our patio.

That’s where I found my sanity.

Do you see it?

That’s because it’s a tiny bit camouflaged, lying in wait (being aerodynamically designed to land up-side down). Raisons d’etre tend to fall into your life that way.

Let me turn it over for you:

It’s a Blue Jay tail feather, the center tail feather — the one around which the bird’s symmetry is arrayed.


No scientist would have the nerve to invent such a thing, the way its form and pattern meshes so effortlessly.

No artist would dare invent such a color, a cool steel-blue that shimmers hot turquoise like a flash of lightning.

This is the kind of miracle that you only get in nature, as a gift, just for paying attention,on this planet that seems determined to kill itself with sorrow.

In the quantity of joy this Blue Jay feather brought me on the morning that I found it under the rhododendron tree, this little little occasion of beauty and surprise, the world was redeemed. At least for the day.

Well, at least for the rest of the morning.


11 Comments, RSS

  1. Mary

    I’m looking at poor, ferel, hard-knocks Dudley. He looks like he needs a good meal ( HAH) That cat is doing very well, I can see.

    I re-read July and August in WWCTR yesterday. You hit it right on, with descriptions of hot weather.
    Even with the pain of the heat, you saw, and STILL find beauty.
    Your book is still meaningful, and WILL be, years from now. I’m suggesting we all re-read those chapters. We can’t go out in this; might as well read. Especially, the book that brought us all here to vivianswift@yahoo.com

  2. august

    The way things are going, you’re gonna need a BB gun and a whole flock of bluejays to keep yourself sane.

    And your link’s wrong, it’s http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com/ with the ‘blogspot.’

    My cat was gone for five days, and I thought I was finally rid of her, but she marched in last night, yowled complaints for 15 minutes, stuffed her face, and headed back outside. It’s like we’re married.

  3. Nadine

    Marriage equality in New York State was the only bright spot in a dismal weekend.

    And thank you, August, for sharing the correct URL. “Too cold and too windy” to do an outdoor crit? In July?

    Ironically, the New York Times has a front page story today about how common it is for rich folks use private planes to ferry their rich kids to rich-kids camps in Maine, and how happy all those rich people make Maine’s Tea Bagger gov.

    Maine, by the way, ranks in the top 10 states in its percent of households receiving food stamps and Medicaid spending per capita, and state and local taxes as a percent of personal income. Yep, Maine voters rejected marriage equality but approved a Tea Bag.

  4. Rachel

    I am just thankful for that feather, the rest of it is so depressing that I refuse to watch and listen. Three cheers for NY, the newest wedding state. I wonder how the *powers that be* will try to punish NY for this action? There will be federal consequences is ways that the congress seems to specialize in. Enough, enough, going out looking for a feather.

  5. Ah yes, some needed perspective here. I’m not too up to date on the US stuff and it’s nice and cool here in France but the Norway violence really saddened me. Thanks for the distraction…

  6. Jeannie

    The Blue Jay feather is so beautiful. There are times I want to run away to a deserted island and be with nature – away from the insanity. There are a lot of people in Washington DC who need a slap upside the head, or a return to kindergarten to learn how to play nicely with others.

  7. Susie

    Getting right to the most important burning information – How do you know it’s a center tail feather? That’s pretty spectacular to know that, I thought they were kind of more or less all the same…we have family of crows who stops by(they do live in families) and I find these whopping black feathers in the side yard, every day. (along with whopping poops) I wonder, do they have a center tail feather, too?
    Pretty cool!

  8. Deborah

    Love the feather, but the cobweb catface did it for me! That “yeah, I meant to do this” attitude is one of the great things about cats.

    I had my own nature’s respite yesterday. There’s a house we drive by every day that has a corral containing a horse and two miniature donkeys. A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that one of the donkeys was in a separate pen. . . with a baby (we hadn’t noticed she was pregnant!) Yesterday as I drove by, I saw that mom and baby were in the big pen, and the baby was gamboling. The sight was so unexpected, the baby so exuberant and awkward, it made the world seem just so very right for that brief moment; and my eyes were a tad moist as I sent out a thank you to the universe for letting me be in that exact place at that exact moment.

  9. Shelley

    Dudley is totally rocking that cobweb! It’s absolutely what all the well-accessorized cats should be wearing this summer, and he knows he’s cool!

    I discovered that Parisbreakfast.com also works (instead of “breakfasts”). Thanks for sharing that link – what wonderful watercolors!

    Thanks for that beautiful close-up of the bluejay feather. There’s nothing like the perfection of nature to restore a bit of peace and sanity is there?

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