Last evening, I decided to take a walk across the road to my place along the river and sit for awhile in prayer and meditation. I wasn't needing to pray, at least not about anything in particular. It was a beautiful day and I simply wanted to be present to it. And listen.
As I crossed the road, I saw a turkey feather lying on the ground, right in my path, perhaps from the small flock that made its way through my yard a couple of days ago. As I bent over to pick it up, I recalled the American Indian belief regarding feathers. In every native American tribe it is believed they carry with them the power of prayer, that they represent a prayer. In some indigenous cultures, they call forth the creative force and allow for communication with Spirit. And so I picked it up and held it as I continued on my walk to the river.
After sitting there by the river for a few minutes, I felt the nudge to walk, to discover more of the small bit of woods on my land, the woods the turkeys had taken cover in two days previously. I walked along the fence line until I could cross over at a place where a fence post was almost down. On the corner of my woods, in a small meadow next to the neighboring farm field, there was a long forgotten garden, fenced and consisting of several tractor tires set in rows. It would take a good deal of working this garden to bring it back to a usable state, but there it is. A possible project for some other spring, should more gardens be in my future.
I could hear, but not see, the crows in the neighbor's field. The colors, the sounds, the sense of autumn, the entire scene, all contributed to a rather van Gogh-ish feeling in the air.
Throughout my walk, I found several mushrooms had popped out, all wanting to have their picture taken. I was drawn to a moss-covered stump that several mushrooms call home. It turned into a real lesson in seeing, really seeing.
Some were very colorful and I have long known they are usually the ones that are non-culinary. But, not always. There are two types of mushrooms that I feel confident picking. I know them as the honey cap and the sulphur shelf, which is quite colorful. Sauteed, there's no finer food. These, however, are not them.
At some point in my walk, I put the turkey feather in a button hole near my lapel. It felt right. Thinking about it now, I realize I had placed it over my heart.
I have, framed and sitting in my bookshelf, a quote by the philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, regarding his thoughts on prayer. It states:
As my prayer became more and more attentive and inward, I had less and less to say. I finally became completely silent... This is how it is. To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and being silent, and waiting until God is heard.