The dancing feather
By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
A FEATHER dropped on the spade while I was planting the Philippine chestnut and Chinese gabi. I know Dad has a message, although I really do not know yet what he wants to tell me. I immediately put the feather inside the pocket of my shorts and continued to plant. After that I changed my clothes. While I was putting on my blouse, the same feather flew in front of me. How it got out of the pocket to dance in front of me beats me because that pocket is deep and unlikely to let out anything in it. I opened my wallet, where I stored all the feathers that flew into my hands from different places, but this one seemed to want to stay out of the wallet. Then the fan blew it away to a place in the room where I could no longer find it, unless I overturn all the things laid on my bed. After turning over all the sheets and everything on the bed, I gave up. Maybe the feather wants me to search elsewhere, to something I should pay attention to, to places I procrastinated looking in. I gave up looking after a while and focused on the work at hand.
Then I saw a mint green butterfly flying on the mint green curtains. Dad again, I thought. This is the third butterfly to visit my room in a week, the first two ones were orange, three times bigger than this one. As before, I attempted to bring it out of the window, thinking it belonged to the world outside, but like all the other butterflies, it came back and laid itself to rest in my room. What is the message? Too busy to focus on messages now, have emails to reply to, and a book to write.
I began to type a few words, but the birds were chirping excitedly by my window, reminding me that I should get off from the computer and walk outside. Then they flew, still chattering as they navigated in the early morning breeze with the sun on their backs towards the sunflowers, I suppose, at the University of the Philippines. Where else would they go for an abundance of seeds?
What is it my Dad wants me to find? Mom never sends me messages. She comes to me in a half-dream, half-awake state putting a bunch of newly-cut kampupots, rosals and camias closest to my nose, so close that I could run my hands into their delicate textures and smell their exotic essences. She brushes her hands on my back, and I can actually feel her back on mine, giving me a soft nudge, enough for me to wake up, and find her gone.
There is another world out there, reaching out, wanting to be understood, and close enough to touch. And there is the inner world inside of us, where we store so much of us, an attic full of things we kept over the years, that we have not sorted out. I have to find that feather.
Like water to the feather
it felt like flowing water
a flowing warm ripple
where a feather is tempted to plunge
to smell the flowers falling from a tree
richly textured, yellow flowers,
some, taking their own sweet time, to fall.
other petals dropped easily
and were carried to where the river wished
others were flown at points where
they will never get carried anywhere.
it felt like flowing water,
a flowing warm ripple
where I fell, buoyed by the softness
of a bewitched, bewildered feather.
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