It was an impromptu decision. I was desperate for something to do, the kids bored and magnetized too long to their respective screens. We ate a hasty lunch, took the dogs for a quick walk down the road and threw some snacks and water bottles in the car. The three of us were on our way to the Polar Caves.
Even though we were driving to a waterless destination while the temperature was rising closer and closer to unbearably warm, I was simply happy we had all agreed on something to do. I hadn’t thought too much about the significance of where we were going, until hour later, not even when I saw the feather.
It was in the truck in back of me. Looming large and proud, the feather pointed toward the sky and nestled up against the cab in the back of the truck. Wow, that’s a large feather, I thought to myself, How odd that it’s in the back of that truck. Still, I thought Isn’t it beautiful. I marveled at the detail, how I could see the individual veins, and the way the white gave way to a crest of gray-black. It looked so real!
What I strange thing to have in the bed of a truck I thought as it pulled into the left-hand lane to pass me, A fake feather, like a flag. I looked at the truck again, now in front of me. Two narrow, brown cylinders rested against the cab, bearing no resemblance to a feather whatsoever.
I put the feather out of my mind as we pulled into the Polar Caves entrance and tumbled out into the dripping heat. I had, after all, two kids to watch and a series of caves to crawl through that would test my endurance for confined spaces. It was a quick trip, the three of us making our way through the loop of caves in the cliffs in just under an hour in our effort to compete with the crowd and the heat above ground. Ironically, there was still, in the middle of July, a thick slab of winter ice slowly melting in one of the caves. I could have stayed down there all day, if not for the kids, the line of people behind me, and my claustrophobia threatening to consuming me if I lingered more than two seconds without moving toward light.
It wasn’t until hours later, when I was back home walking the dogs around the block after yoga class, that I let the feather return to me to be mulled over in my mind, the mind that appeared to be playing tricks on me. The feather, I realized, had been pointed up as though in a headdress. I thought back to the Polar Caves, and then it hit me. It was a sign, even if its message was illusory. I thought about how the mind sometimes sees things that aren’t really there, but rarely by accident. I call these images, messages from the world of Spirit, or our Higher Selves. I had, I realized seen a feather for a reason, and seemed fitting that I had been on my way to an old Native American site. I was pretty sure I knew which of my guides was trying to reach me.