So much more than a Lost Feather

 

I lost a feather the other day and I understand this does not qualify as news.

But I want to say—for the record—that this was a really nice feather. I paid good money for it and pinned it to my favorite blue hat. I wore that hat out for a walk, one evening, when it was chilly.

This was the last night that my husband, Peter, and I were in Frigiliana, a little town in the south of Spain. I walked to the top of the very steep hill where, four hundred years ago, a Moorish castle stood, guarding the town from invaders. The invaders eventually made it there anyway and the castle was knocked to the ground. Only the amazing view over the Mediterranean remains. And that’s where I went walking when I lost my feather. 

There was no hope of finding it that night. The sun was already down. So, the next morning I headed out, looking for my feather. 

When I got to the foot of the hill (a small mountain, really) I realized what a foolish idea this was.

The ground was covered with autumn leaves that, surprisingly, all looked a lot like feathers. There was a stiff wind blowing and I had no idea when the feather had parted ways with my hat. 

Just then, I met a young pair of Germans heading up the hill. 

“Do you speak English?” I asked.

“Yes!” they told me (because all Germans do, it seems).

“I’ve lost a feather. You haven’t seen it, have you?”

“A feather?” the young man repeated.

It struck me that this was the stupidest question I’d ever asked anyone, and I was filled with relief that I would never see these two people again. 

“Actually, yes,” he said. “I saw one near the donkeys.”

I knew exactly where the donkeys were. 

“Right by the donkeys?” I asked, rather incredulous. 

“Yes, I saw it when I stopped to take a photo.”

“Thank you so much!” And I raced back down the hill, back to the donkeys. 

“It pays to ask for help!” I told myself. “It’s worth asking stupid questions!” I added in my little sermon to myself.

Except there was no feather. 

I searched and searched and could not find it anywhere. Even the donkeys lost interest in the project. I was there so long the Germans came down the hill again and found me. 

“Did you find the feather?” the young man asked. 

“No, no I didn’t,” I confessed. He took me to where he had seen it. There was no feather. 

“Ah well. Don’t waste any more time on this!” I told the considerate German couple. 

“Well, good luck!” they said as they headed down the hill. 

Since I still hadn’t made it to the top of the mountain, I kept climbing. I went all the way to the top, to the place I had looked at the Mediterranean the night before. And there was my feather, lying no more than a foot from where I had sat. I held that feather in my hand, amazed. 

Because, you see, I didn’t really think I was going to find that feather. I thought the whole idea was crazy from the start. But once I shared the idea with that nice German couple, the possibility of finding it seemed more real, more attainable. Sometimes we just need someone else believing in our ideas to make those ideas—even the crazy ones—seem possible. 

It was only because they believed I could find the feather that I did. 

 

Carrie Classon is an author, columnist, and performer. She champions the idea that it is never too late to reinvent oneself in unexpected and fulfilling ways. Carrie Classon’s memoir, “Blue Yarn,” was released earlier this year. Learn more at CarrieClasson.com

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