Discover more from Mortality Musings by Carole Silvoy
Feathers are ephemeral
(Note: This post feels so scattered to me and I’ve been holding it and other writing back until it’s not scattered. I realize that it’s scattered because I am, because right now my life is, and that is ok. Scattered or not, someone somewhere needs to read the bits and bobs here, and more important, I need to write them)
To me feathers are most beautiful in movement.
A bird that feeds or lights nearby gives me a glimpse of the miracle of feathers they wear. They don’t stay, so the glimpse is always brief and delightful.
When I find feathers in the grass, especially in bunches, they make me think of the bird that isn’t there for whatever reason. I’ll bring in a feather I’ve found in the yard for the cats to play with, but they usually get left around and then ignored. They’re always the most fun when I get the cats’ attention and toss the feather into the air and we watch it flutter down to be pounced upon. And it’s so interesting to notice how very varied the fall pattern is between different feathers. Some will spin, others float, and some swoop back and forth until they land.
I was overjoyed to get to see and enjoy the flight of a pair of American Bald Eagles this past weekend directly above my home. We have masses of sky around us so watching birds in flight is particularly rewarding. The beautiful white curving fan of tail feathers caught my eye, but I think it was the finger-like wing tips that moved me the most. From far below the spread wing tips look delicate and yet they are working in concert to let this amazing bird soar.
After quite a few weeks with many changes and new challenges, Mother moved to a different level of care where she lives. She’s now in Memory Support. This move is such a gift - we know the staff and this environment is so much more encouraging for her to stay happy and engaged and safe. Still, making this transition brings some ache in the heart as well.
Preparing to move, I was looking through Mother’s MASSES of jewelry. She's collected so much of it over her nine decades of living. Among the rings I found one I didn’t remember. It’s surely something she picked up in her wandering, a little something that caught her fancy. The ring is silver and looks like a feather softly curving across the finger. I said how pretty it is and asked if I could wear it and she said “You want it? Take it!” (She says this a lot and means it - certain things she prizes are kept close, but many others she wants to share to be enjoyed)
I tried it on and found that it fits my middle finger so well I can hardly feel it’s there. And with Mother’s love of birds which she passed along to me it carries such a sweet connection. I haven’t taken it off.
This journey into Dementia has such twists and turns. The whole feather motif really struck home for me. Mother is no longer the whole bird, singing, flying, hopping from branch to branch.
Like individual feathers falling I catch glimpses of my genuine Mom.
The soft and delicate glimpses, quick and fleeting, are a bit of that beautiful songbird that is the whole of Mother, who she truly was.
Those glimpses are ephemeral, and they are gifts. I want to recognize them, honor them and appreciate them in the moment, and in the featherless moments that make up the majority of our time together.
Note: to anyone who is also on the Dementia Merry-Go-Round, I recommend checking out Teepa Snow on YouTube. She explains what is going on in the minds of our beloved folk as Dementia takes control. Teepa Snow