Sweeping down the coastline on a bicycle, in the eye of nature, I honed a new relationship between the world and me. I was not just in the world, I was part of it, flesh and spirit welded together in wholeness. Little comforts completed me: hot showers, dry socks, the crackle of the campfire on cold nights, the blue companion of the ocean, the blackberries tantalizing us along country roads. Wild as the wasps, and as strong as the mountains we climbed, it was not surprising that Tilly and I wanted an outward symbol of our transformation.
In the Castaneda book we brought with us, the old Indian shaman, Don Juan, taught that all things have meaning and purpose, and nothing should be taken for granted. Peace and patience would reveal the spirits around us and the powers hidden there, even in feathers. When we found two large eagle feathers lying side-by-side on the ground at a campsite on Orcas Island, we knew it was a sign.
I remembered a story my father told of the Tartars blazing across Poland on horses. The small but ferocious warriors wore feathers in their hair to panic their opposition. Though frequently outnumbered, the flapping and rattling of a Tartar charge terrified men and horses until defending forces broke ranks and ran. No army could withstand the power of a thousand feathers.
Tilly and Danuta, flying down the coast.
Now, we had earned the gift of the eagle, power and protection. From that day on we wore the eagle feathers. They captured the power of the wind and made great flying, flapping, Tartar sounds on the downhill glides. Now, we were wolves and warriors.
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