Feather

June 12, 2012

Last evening I found a crow feather on the sidewalk as I walked home.  It’s about eight and a half inches long and one and three-quarters inches wide.  I was struck by how nice and clean its bald end is.

Today I went walking around the reservoir.  The water level is pretty high and there are not many water fowl around.  Something green is blooming on much of the water’s surface.

There are still a couple of points where, despite the high water level and the leafy undergrowth, a person can still make their way down to the water.  I stood above one such place and felt almost a push to go down to the water’s edge.  Halfway down I saw what looked to be a feather floating right at the shore.  I finished my way down carefully, despite this sense of being pushed (no, I did not want to tumble in), picked the feather up out of the water, and wow, it’s really long —  it’s kind of narrow, but it is truly long:  over fourteen and three-quarters inches.  It, too, has a nice, clean bald quill at the end — again, very long (almost four inches) and large in diameter (a quarter inch) and hollow and tough.

I’m wondering whether it is also from a crow or whether it is from some water bird.  I don’t know very much about feathers — I just like them.  The back of it has almost a shiny coating for about half its width closest to the shaft — I’m wondering if that’s a clue.  There are cormorants at the res sometimes, but I haven’t seen one for a while, and of course, geese, but this feather doesn’t remind me of goose feathers.  There are crows at the res often.

When I sit back and think about my reaction to this feather, it’s really less about what kind of bird it came from (although I am clearly curious about that), and more about, “Wow, it’s from a big bird!  I’d like to see the rest of the thing and be able to visualize where this feather fits in.”  Maybe that’s what I should think about, the mystery of seeing only part of a whole and how to make peace with that.

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