Walking along the beach I saw this feather right at my feet. It brought back a saying that my mother always used when spying a feather on our path during walks in the woods. “We’re on the right path” she would say. I would ask her how she knew we were on the right path and she replied that she was told by a Native American long ago that in his world a feather was a message…in this case the right path could have many meanings. Not only would you have chosen the right trail to follow but that your actions in the land of humans was correct and in line with spirits that looked over you.
I’ve thought a lot about this phrase growing up and realized that the natural world speaks to us all the time and that the voice at times is very faint due to our path of civilization. This listening to what is right in front of us however has become a lost art. What messages do we choose to hear? What messages are lost in the din of our preoccupied thoughts? In paying attention to our path we may hear the whispers that guide us.
In looking for messages from the natural world I seem to be really searching for myself. Looking for a direction to follow that aligns with the map I’m making as I continue my journey in living. When I see a feather in my path now I stop and ask myself…am I going in the right direction? I consult my inner compass, which I believe is my conscience, and see if there is resonance there. The feather may not be able to tell me to turn right or left, but it gives me the pause I need to evaluate my actions of late and decide if I need to change course.
I leave the feathers where they are now, I take photos instead of collecting them. But I always hear my mother’s voice saying “We’re on the right path.”