The First Day of the Rest of My Life

August 26, 2010

This beautiful feather was waiting for me this morning, my first morning post-move. At first glance I thought it was an owl feather (an owl flew over our heads during our drive last night and then I’d heard one hooting after we arrived in Malo).  I know that owl feathers are soft like velvet (which helps silence their flight) so I felt it. Nope, not owl. Then I realized it was a hawk feather, red-tailed I deduced.

Now some people believe that owls portend death−that their presence indicates death awaits someone nearby, and even a feather has this power.  But I tend to the view that death can mean change−like the tarot interpretation of the death card. So, I was happy to see an owl feather awaiting me. Me, the girl in the midst of a lot of change.

I was just as happy to realize it is a hawk feather.

Hawks are powerful, with keen eyesight, and many believe they symbolize vision, clarity, focus−things that I can use these days. And in any event, it is a beautiful feather.

I found a website called The Feather Atlas, and identified this as a juvenile wing feather from a red-tail hawk. (This is the kind of hawk that circles above my brother’s chickens and swoops on them for a meal.)

Of course I’m a little obtuse in some things, and did not realize that it is verboten for me to possess feathers from red-tail hawks, being that they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I suppose this means it’s best that I leave such feathers lay where I find them.

By the way, The Feather Atlas looks like a great resource for identifying those feathers we all find here and there. And which I now know I probably best not be bringing home.

So then I dove into the more “productive” part of my day, and started unloading my things from the trailer. I quickly grokked that I really had no place to put things, so unloading probably was not such a great idea. I revised my plan and took care of some bill paying and the like, then went to the post office to open a PO Box. Turns out I qualify for a free box, because my place is no where near the mail carrier’s route. Apparently the USPS guarantees free delivery of mail, so if the rural delivery route doesn’t work, the box is free.

Then I went to “the bus”−the old, yellow school bus which years ago Dad offered to me as a quasi storage facility. I thought I’d see what kind of room I still had in there, hoping I could off-load some of the trailer contents into the bus. This required driving a ways on a road that isn’t really a road, but is more of a beaten path through the grass and pine trees. Such driving can be perilous in summer conditions; an automobile can set dry grass afire. I was conscious and wary of this.

So I was very distressed when I got back to my brother’s house, stood at the kitchen window, and saw smoke floating in the distance, above the area where I’d just been.

I’ll save you the tedium of the details. The short version is that from a better vantage point we could see that the fire was coming from the other side of the mountains (whew! off the hook for starting my first forest fire). We stood watch however, for the wind was blowing furiously, the stuff of flames whipped and traveling. If we saw flames crest the ridge, we’d be off with our shovels.

Shovels, and backhoe, and water truck. My brother is a fount of heavy equipment …

The smoke shifted and the colors changed, but finally we went back to the house; things seemed under control and then the skies cleared of smoke.

The report tonight is that 400 acres burned. I haven’t heard yet what the cause was, but I am so glad it’s not my name that’s going to be in the paper for this one.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

deb frederickson August 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I love the photo of the red-tailed hawk feather. And what a treat to end my day reading your “the first day of the rest of my life” post. You are a gift, just like that feather, Leila. <3

Hannah August 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Exciting stuff: a real-life tarot reading!
Burning up old things that don’t belong. Clearing the way for new life. Red-tailed hawk, in the homeopathic paradigm, is about being a “good mother” and member of the family. Also about letting go of old wounds, old ties that bind (fascination with ropes anyone?), and flaunting the eccentricities that make you unique. Perhaps you’re embarking on a journey to nurture some part of yourself that’s wanted attention for some time?
much love

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