All those feathers

All those feathers in our down comforter, in our pillows, in all the pillows and feather beds and nests of the world. They are hidden away in those places, but I think of them bursting out and flying free and floating, drifting on air pockets like little boats till they land softly, silently, onto the skin of a lake, like those insects — water gliders? Water skiers? What are those those things called with the long legs and they skate on the surface of the water? It doesn’t matter.

All those feathers on the surface of lakes, drawing your eye to their softness, making the water look hard, like sliver glass that would cut you like the sharp edges of a mirror, but if you dip your hand to catch the feather, your hand goes in smoothly, the water cool and soft, not sharp or hard-edged at all. And if you pull the feather out it’s no longer fluffy and downy like a soft-edged boat, like a fur-lined coat. It is scraggly and bedraggled, bony and dark, weighted down and dripping, skeletal and heavy in air where only moments before it was light and wispy in water.

What would fish see from below of those feathers sailing on the surface? A tiny rib? How much would break the surface, if any, and how much would the fish see that is out of the water? Probably not much, unless it is a flounder or a walleye lying on the bottom with both eyes up because all the other fishes’ eyes are on the sides of their heads looking sideways not up, and a flounder wouldn’t be in a lake anyway because it’s a saltwater fish. So forget the fish and the feathers and just think about the birds and their down, and how warm it might be in the pit of a bird wing, where geese slip their bills on cold days – for warmth?

I know nothing about birds except that blue is not always blue. I saw a bluebird with a friend and she said there’s a blue bird and I said but it’s not blue (it was red) and she said, oh but it is, just not at the angle you’re looking right now. Their feathers refract light differently at different angles and it’s blue though you may not see it that way.

Photo Credit: Feather from a swan, floating on Hatchet Pond by Jim Champion

For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just trying to get back into the writing habit.


sun, sunlight, solar
skin, hide, pelt, cuticle
freckles, moles, sun spots, age spots
golden, tan, brown, tawny
bikini, naked
sunbathe, tanning oil, Coppertone
sunbow, sunbreak, sunbright, sunburst
sunburned or sunburnt: reddened, tanned, seared by the sun’s rays
summer, sky, warm, hot
bright, blazing, blistering, sizzling
sprinkled, spotted, freckle-faced
rays, sun rays
tan: to convert (skin) to leather by impregnation with an infusion of tree bark, mineral salts, or some other form of tannin or a substitute
sand, beach, salt
mineral, crust, salty, saline, briny, brackish, brown
salt-tinged, mud-tinged
beach chair, beach towel, lounge chair
wading, body surfing
cooler, salty snacks, boiled peanuts, Coke
tan, leather, browned, exposure
yellow, orange, glaring, white, blinding
shimmering, heat waves
sand, sandbar, sandbank, sandal
beach, shore, splash zone
quartz, glass, abrasive, grainy, gritty
sand crab, ghost crab, sand dollar
star fish, moon snail, mud ball
seashore, shoreline, beach comber
beach cusp (n.): sand and gravel deposits formed by wave action into points that project seaward along a coast
beach flea, beach grass, crustaceans, sea oats
sand dunes, reeds, sand burrs, stickers
superfine, white, dry, sugar sand
beach umbrella
Sunkist, Budweiser, Blondie: “The tide is high”
lifeguard stand
brown water, surf, waves, jetty
boats, boating, outboard, hum
hull, fiberglass, bimini
wake, kneeboard, crab traps, buoys
marsh, Spartina, oyster beds, mud flats
tide, tidal, rivers, creeks
serpentine, still, buzzing
boat deck, peach, warm, vibration
guard rail, bow rail, stainless steel
helm, anchor
bumper, line, cleat, dock
planks, searing hot, blistering hot
blistered skin, pink, tender
jellyfish, jelly balls, cannonball jellies
barefoot, flip flops
sundress, straps that hurt
melanoma, cancer

For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. This one was just a spilling of words. I was tired of prose.

Perpetual Motion

My mind is in perpetual motion. A hamster on a wheel. A tornado. The only way to stop it, or at least funnel off some of the crazy, is to write. Getting the thoughts out of my head at least ends the endless repetition of one train of thought and makes room for another. Writing lets my brain move forward instead of turning into a black hole that feeds on itself, swirling and sucking everything in with its gravity.

I’m not always serious. On the outside I can be fun, and on the inside too. But I feel like my thoughts are grave or deep or big too often. It’s more fun being fun. Fortunately for myself, I think I’m hilarious. I think lots of things are hilarious, too. I spoke to our son on the phone when I was in New Orleans, and he said something that made me laugh.

“You’re funny, buddy,” I said. I sat on the stone wall and giggled at my 11 year-old.

With his father’s dryness, he said, “It’s just easy to make you laugh.”

Which is apparently why my husband married me. I’m an easy laugh.

Perpetual motion is my energy state. I wrote recently about not being able to loaf. It’s because I like to be busy. Thinking is included in that busyness. Like most, I am not able to sit still and be thought-free. But it is rare that I sit and think — I’m writing, or making coffee, or walking, or planning my week. Those are probably the slowest motion things I do besides sleep. I’m trying to recall if there was a single moment today where I was not doing something, and aside from sleeping, I cannot think of one. Oh, except when I woke this morning.

That is my still time. Waking on a Saturday or Sunday without an alarm clock. Lying in bed with my husband, my head on his chest, half-asleep, not moving. Content.

For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Trying to get back into the writing habit. Thank you to Geoffrey for the “perpetual motion” prompt.