One of my Beloved Sisters, a biologist, told me once that there are two kinds of people in this world: feather finders, and everyone else. She says feather finders cannot help themselves—they find feathers wherever they go.
I don’t know if there is some kind of field biology folklore around the subject, but I, for one, do seem to have this feathersight. When I moved from Idaho to Oregon 18 months ago, I threw out a large collection of feathers I’d found while living in that rugged state. It was a pretty impressive assemblage that included wing and tail feathers from great horned owls, red-tail hawks, and even a raven. It just didn’t seem right to hang onto them.
And yet this morning, as Rowan and I were out on our morning stroll, an idea started pecking at me for my next story. Just an image, really; for one scene. I started to get excited; the edges of the idea are peeling, and I can see glimpses of a greater story beneath that image. Story ideas come to me that way (sometimes). One image comes to me and excites me; pulling me into a bigger world. I’ve come to recognize the trigger now. It pushes all my other story ideas into the background. I must tell this story next (whatever my previous intentions might have been).
Anyway, as soon as the scene came to me, I found a feather. A long and lovely crow feather. Its an omen, I think. Follow the feather.
When I went to add it to the (new) collection, I was a bit taken aback that the new collection had already grown to fill a small vase.
I moved the vase into my writing room.