Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Mother’s Feather-gram: Witnessing (absence and presence)

Last year we were witnessing for my mother as she slipped out of the world, one breath at a time. Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson, ah, what a gal! We all dropped by her bedside to witness with her. We brought what we could and we said our good-byes. My father said his with love songs on his violin, ones he'd serenaded her with for years.

Today I walked down Riehl Lane, thinking of Mother's Anniversary-Date tomorrow, and found a feather on my way out and another on my way back. Mother, who so loved birds, are you sending a little feather-gram to us?

The air was filled with birdsong. I reached over and blew dandeline seeds over the alfalfa field, just as I did as a kid.

[She fills] the world with truth and grace.
Let Heaven and Nature sing.
Let Heaven and Nature sing.
Let Heaven and heaven and nature sing.

My poet's soul so wanted this to be a hawk's feather, but my naturalist's soul knew it was a wild turkey feather. I wanted to tickle someone's chin with it, but in the new way of thinking bird feathers are filled with parasites and must be washed first. I lathered up my feather-grams, dried them, bound them in red ribbon, and put them in a plastic bag on the dresser top where my great-nieces will find them on our next play-date.

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1 Responses »

  1. Looks like you've had more than your share of hard trips on a rough road.

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