Our Word :: Week 1 Day 4 :: Place { Journey} {Drums}

by Cassie

We are all born with feathers.

There, from the fertile black soil of the wild path we walk in the moments before dreaming eyes open. Out of nowhere, out of everywhere. This idea, we all come into the world covered with these fine fledgling feathers that later allow us to fly, that we are born possessing wax-free wings and we go not towards the sun but into the sweet face of the full moon. The mythology of magic feathers –the way I found a small, perfect blue jay feather in my dad’s things right after he died, and poked it through a hole in the roof of my car, how it catches the light from the fat beaded goddess that hangs from the mirror and and turns it into indigo fire sometimes, how I think maybe that’s him saying hello and I’m sorry and I wasn’t then but here I am now. And how that’s a metaphor for probably a lot of my life — I wasn’t then but here I am now.

And the questions were asked, and the questions were answered.

Where do you want to go? An old, old forest.
Who will you be there with? Myself. Alone.
Who will be with you? Anyone who wishes me well.
What will you be doing? Searching. Finding.

Then the drums start. The smoky sweet scent of the incense catches on the breeze of the old white fan, the window unit air conditioner that is too loud and leaks condensation. I remember that old apartment, the cedar chest we bought at a flea market, an eight card spread on top of it, a cone of frankincense crumbling into a cracked dish. In the dark behind closed eyes, there are spirals and spirals — mist on mountains and around stone circles. There is air rushing into my face; I look to my right and find a new companion, a round face with eyes like comets, curls held captive under an old aviator cap. “How does it feel to be flying sideways?” And I am, we are, moving through the sky from west to east. “Who are you?,” I ask, my mouth full of wind, my tongue and teeth heavy as ice. “Amelia!,” she replies, and she smiles, and a part of me thinks this is ridiculous, but truly, in the moment, it’s only nice to have a friendly face guiding me, showing me how to move around under the clouds. Deep green breaks up the grey of the horizon. “See the treeline? Aim for the center. Stay low. Be careful you don’t crash into anything.” I lean right and find myself

in the forest. A hut. There are young lovers at the door, the wild animal longing of each body for the other hanging heavy in the air, a heaving shimmer over the pine needles. My bare feet are almost silent as I pass them on the path. “I’m sorry, I must be moving on. Alone.” They nod in unison, their hands entwined like one huge heart, held up between their chests. There is a fire in the floor, but I can’t see it. I smell the smoke, hear the sharp crack! of burning sap, but my eyes find only a fortress of trees in the late bloom of summer. I walk in a circle and turn once more and there

is a tiny crooked house set in the middle of snow-covered mountains. The thatched roof angles sharply upward, and cast iron pots and pans and cauldrons hang from the porch roof, alongside bundles of drying herbs. Rough red bricks lead to the doorway — the door itself is warped and curved and barely fits into the frame. Someone else is here, but I see no one, I only sense my breath is not alone, the air is being shared. There is a candle in the window, the holder shaped like the lamp of a genie. Rubbing it seems rude, and I only like to wish on stars, but there’s magic here somewhere and I’m tempted to gobble it up. There is a candle in the window, and a fire in the floor, and the spiraling starts again, but then the baby wakes up and the chain of my necklace rattles like bones in a cup, and the moment is lost –for the moment. But now I know. Now I know I can follow the feathers and the drums and find the house in the mountains — maybe next time I will stay awhile, settle in, scoop all that magic up in two hands and throw it down my throat. Maybe next time I will have twelve minutes to myself instead of seven, and in those extra five, I will find the fire in the floor and bring some back with me, eyes red-rimmed and watering, chest lit up with a glowing heart, phoenix ashes behind my breastbone, just waiting for that first breath, that first rising.

We are all born with feathers. We just have to find them.

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