Path of the Feather
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“Viriginia, Oodgeroo, Emily” the Old Man in the Green Turban called the three writing owls that I had known back when I lived on my island. I placed my two wings in the palm of my hand. The feathers tickled and made me giggle- but then my giggle changed into a “tuwhoo tuwhoo” and I was an owl myself.
The Old Man in the Green Turban had turned into a giant tree and the three owls were seated on his branches. The tree whispered “fly” – I hesitated the tree boomed “fly” and so I flew and saw with Owl’s Eyes.
Above it all – I saw with the Owl’s Eyes- patterns made by rivers and lakes, mountains rising to peaks, orange soil sown for the coming crops, fields full of sleeping goats- and I felt my tummy rumble- and instinct kick in.
I saw a lighthouse and it was then that Viriginia the Owl flew down and I followed. I felt a bit off balance as we swooped down to the lighthouse. Flying and looking, flying and looking until I became the thing I looked at and I was looking at a tasty mouse- trying to break into the lighthouse. I swooped and grabbed and was satisfied with my feed.
I looked into the house and saw the ghost of a lady with a green shawl staring out at me – lost in her beauty and her sadness. I put my head to one side. Virginia and I perched on the tree as the lady with the green shawl came out to sit with us. Together we saw light, darkness, povery, wealth, wings, dust, leaves, and wind- it all swirled around us.
I was flying again, “tuwhoo, farewell Viriginia” this time I followed Oodgeroo- she took me to a place of stories dreaming the landscape. We followed the caterpillar in the mountains, taking flight into blue butterfly- we stopped and danced with the brolga. For a moment I became a human seeking to understand the story of how I became an owl- I danced an owl dance, and danced the owl into the landscape.
I listened to the landscape with Oodgeroo and reread her poems – and her lifestory. Grass roots solutions, education, how wise she was, before her time. No outside of time. I saw her flying with her son.
They were gone and I was now flying to the Ferry with Emily- Emily pouring hope into my feathers, and urging me to fly on to the wharf where the ferry waited. She sang her songs, her poems – and we swooped and settled back onto the tree man, the green turbaned old man, and my wings appeared back on my hand.
I stood at the base of the tree, for now the green turbaned man was gone, back into the soul of the island.
The Tree Man
(c) June Perkins all rights reserved.