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Finding our Feathers



Walking in The Arts District LA one day, I nearly stepped on a white feather. Undaunted by street traffic on Santa Fe Avenue, I studied my find. Staring at the clouds, I gave into my pondering. Hmm, a feather. I wonder if it's a feather I lost along the way. Or did it come from a fellow human, who's lost their passion to fly, whose wings have been clipped?


I wondered if the feather came from bird or human. After all, we humans have inner wings. And like fowls, we too can (symbolically) lose feathers. Oftentimes, the only witness to this sorrowful occasion is our dreary heart.


Does it hurt when birds lose feathers? I know that when humans lose feathers, like losing a dream, it hurts. The whole image of a feather being so far apart from its home left me feeling melancholy. It reminded me of when things break, like friendships, marriages…or the self.


Yes, our dreams too have feathers. Sometimes people and circumstances clip our feathers. Ouch! Sometimes our spirits start losing their elasticity and the feathers become dry, like brittle branches that break easily in the wind of a new season.


If you pull off a bird’s feather, yes, it hurts. But sometimes, as a way of life, feathers fall.

I have read that just as we have bad hair days, birds also have bad feather days. Nature.org tells us that feathers are a bird’s defining feature. But feathers wear out quickly, and in order to maintain peak performance, birds molt (replace old feathers with new feathers) at least once a year.


Back to the feather on Santa Fe Avenue. I wondered why it was there, all by itself, on this particular stretch of road. It was within a quarter mile of so much: downtown high rises, City Hall, skid row, Disney Hall, the Fashion District, Union Station. Yet, no one was around to catch it, or notice it fall. There was absolutely no way this feather would ever make its way home. Sometimes our feathers never make their way home. Sometimes, in life's molting process, we form new feathers: new dreams, new friendships, new paths.


I have heard of people collecting feathers as a hobby. I imagine that said collectors feel incredibly jubilant when they happen upon a new feather. Some might even add color to the feather, to jazz it up in peacock fashion.


Curious, I looked up the meaning of white feathers. Here is what www.finefeatherheads.com told me: White feathers come from the purest angels, and thus are messages of peace, love, protection and light. Finding a white feather is a powerful message and blessing from the Divine, and is a sign that all will be right for you soon.


I have also read that feathers, in general, represent strength and growth. We might not be able to re-attach lost feathers, but we can open our plumage to newly-found feathers. They may carry messages of new hopes and dreams. And perhaps they could teach us a new way of flying.


References:

https://blog.nature.org/science/2015/09/28/angry-birds-molting-grumpy-science/

https://www.finefeatherheads.com/the-meaning-of-white-black-and-grey-feathers-a-message-from-the-divine/

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Not many would notice a white feather on the ground in bustling LA. I think it’s a subtle yet telling sign from above that you are loved and protected and will soar in this new chapter of life. Congrats on an amazing career with NBCLA. Wherever you fly to next, we will be cheering you on!

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Rosa Valle-Lopez
Rosa Valle-Lopez
Dec 16, 2022
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Thank you so much for your kind words of affirmation and support.

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