All those feathers in our down comforter, in our pillows, in all the pillows and feather beds and nests of the world. They are hidden away in those places, but I think of them bursting out and flying free and floating, drifting on air pockets like little boats till they land softly, silently, onto the skin of a lake, like those insects — water gliders? Water skiers? What are those those things called with the long legs and they skate on the surface of the water? It doesn’t matter.
All those feathers on the surface of lakes, drawing your eye to their softness, making the water look hard, like sliver glass that would cut you like the sharp edges of a mirror, but if you dip your hand to catch the feather, your hand goes in smoothly, the water cool and soft, not sharp or hard-edged at all. And if you pull the feather out it’s no longer fluffy and downy like a soft-edged boat, like a fur-lined coat. It is scraggly and bedraggled, bony and dark, weighted down and dripping, skeletal and heavy in air where only moments before it was light and wispy in water.
What would fish see from below of those feathers sailing on the surface? A tiny rib? How much would break the surface, if any, and how much would the fish see that is out of the water? Probably not much, unless it is a flounder or a walleye lying on the bottom with both eyes up because all the other fishes’ eyes are on the sides of their heads looking sideways not up, and a flounder wouldn’t be in a lake anyway because it’s a saltwater fish. So forget the fish and the feathers and just think about the birds and their down, and how warm it might be in the pit of a bird wing, where geese slip their bills on cold days – for warmth?
I know nothing about birds except that blue is not always blue. I saw a bluebird with a friend and she said there’s a blue bird and I said but it’s not blue (it was red) and she said, oh but it is, just not at the angle you’re looking right now. Their feathers refract light differently at different angles and it’s blue though you may not see it that way.
Photo Credit: Feather from a swan, floating on Hatchet Pond by Jim Champion
For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just trying to get back into the writing habit.