I want to tell a story about something that happened to me today. this event was very profound, as nothing like this had ever happened, especially when I was at work.
I am lucky to work for a company that has a mile nature trail on its campus. Many associates take advantage of this trail. Some do it for the exercise, or just to take a break from the daily grind. I do it for that, but I also realize that there are a significant number of spirits in the woods and in the stream near the trails. So i frequently also send a mental ‘shout out’ to them as I walk by. There have also been many times that I have had conversations with the ones that choose to speak to me, and from those conversations, I’ve learned a lot about the path that I am currently on.
Today however, things were very different. I took the path at a fast clip, as there was another associate who was also walking, and my introverted self didn’t really want to walk near the associate and try to facilitate small talk. He, recognizing that I had much longer legs than he did and was walking much faster, allowed me to pass, and off I went into the first leg of the wooded part of the trail.
And I immediately spotted a large brown and white feather right in the middle of the trail.
Without thinking, I scooped the feather up mid-stride, and never broke my pace. The feather reminded me of one of a red tailed hawk, a predatory bird that is frequently seen where I live. However I knew that it was not. It also seemed beaten up, much like if the bird had lost it in a fight. I knew that my seeing the feather was a sign of something, as there is very rarely any feathers on this trail that I walk on a frequent basis.
That’s why the second feather was so surprising when I saw it.
This one was all black, like it had come from a blackbird, raven or crow. Again, all three have been seen around the area, so I really had no way of knowing. However, this one, unlike the brown and white one, was perfectly formed and surprisingly longer than most.
When I first saw the feather, I walked by it. After the third step I felt like I had to turn around and get it, to which I did. The associate I passed was still in range, and watched me walk back to get the second feather. I quickly took up my fast pace in order to not have any questions asked of me, and overtook a second group of associates walking the trail to get some distance.
As I was carrying the feathers, I took a trail not rarely used (it was full of mud – I didn’t care) in order to double back and make sure a proper ‘thank you’ was said for the feathers. As I said, they are very rare on these trails, so I had thought that I was very fortunate to find two on the same day, not 20 feet from each other.
When I doubled back, I found that I was the last associate to utilize the trails for that lunch hour. So I had it all to myself. And after a proper ‘thank you’, I was off.
As I continued to the farthest part of the trail, I realized that these feathers were more significant than I had originally thought. While I wasn’t told specifically what each feather meant, I was told that one of the feathers would have to go back to the trail, and with it, a choice was to be made in my spiritual practices.
The beat up one seemed to symbolize my past. It symbolized the abuse, it symbolized how hard I had pushed through to heal from everything, but it also symbolized all of the strength that I had gained and the spiritual allies that came to my aid. At least that is what I sort of ‘assumed’. I was never able to get a straight answer.
The black feather I think symbolized the unknown. And from it I could sense that there was a hint of a gateway to transform into something that I was not yet able to become. In the metaphysical sense, I could tell this feather contained no darkness, but yet it contained no light. The only thing that I could truly comprehend from the energy was that it contained the beginnings of something new.
At this point I was coming to the second trail, which has a bridge over a fast flowing stream. I was told that I could not keep both feathers; that one had to be dropped into that stream. And if I chose not to drop one of the feathers, there would be some sort of consequence that I would be choosing to face.
Now I was still at work, and even though I am allowed to take a longer lunch hour, I knew I had to get back to my desk as I was expected for meetings. It was only within a matter of moments that I was going to get to the bridge and cross it. And even though it was a short distance, I was surprised at how much dread, pain and longing I felt. Even though the meanings of the feathers were never truly clear, I knew they had some significant importance, and I didn’t have any time to study or understand that importance.
So onto the bridge I went, and as requested, one of the feathers went into the water. I watched as it spiraled down and the current carried it under the bridge and down the stream. For a moment, I thought about going down and trying to grab it as I saw it head toward the bank, but thought better of it. Instead, I quickly walked away before I could see if it would get stuck.
The second feather now sits on my desk, next to a feather I had found on another walk, and three stones I used for focus and meditation during the day. the feather sits in the middle of the three stones, much like a small altar in between my two monitors.
I am unsure of all of the intricacies of what it is I have chosen. All I know and believe is that I have chosen to step away from that which I know and into the unknowns of a new path, one that will hopefully lead me to becoming someone who knows myself well, and can utilize what I know I am for the good of myself and those around me.