WIND (1 of 4, God in the Elements)
Feather on the Breath of God
tiny feather, downy white tucked under the wing of mother dove close to her breast near to her heart warm and safe hidden, obscured riding on the effort of other, stronger wings ruffling gently in the soaring but securely tethered cautiously protected mother dove settles in her nest tiny feather rests and breathes snug and comfortable through the night then mother wing lifts morning light peeps through faint stirring of air a gentle but solid beak nudges tiny feather rubbing back and forth in silent greeting then grasps and with a quick tug plucks tiny feather out pauses a moment then releases with a sideways toss tiny feather hovers nearby for an unbelieving moment blinking in betrayed astonishment and suddenly is whisked away by a dizzying breeze up she rises on a warm tide spinning and spinning lost and alone gone are her bearings her fixed orientation identity and tribe the certainty of purpose and direction replaced by sickening disorientation at first she fights in fear tries to reverse course to swim back to the safety of the nest but soon she hears a whisper let go so she releases her fear lets it fall to the ground and she rises higher in response
long she floats and far she travels through breezy warmth of day and cool starlit skies she gazes down on forests fields and rivers feels the fellowship of sun and moon on her journey learns to trust the wind as her guide buoyed on the breeze as if on the back of a playful dolphin she learns to laugh in delight then to drift, contented as a cloud sometimes the wind seems to stop and she slowly descends the ground rising to meet her she might spend a few hours stuck to a dewdrop on a blade of grass breathing in the smell of green till the sun rises, the dew dries and a new breeze lifts her up and on again yielded to the will of the wind yet conscious of a longing an unknown destination her place of resurrection trust, surrender and longing release her to ride on the breath of God then one still day she sinks slowly down to rest in a meadow nearby a dove is gathering twigs and grass for her nest tiny feather watches as she makes several trips back and forth from ground to limb then she alights very close seems almost to smile in recognition a gentle beak closes on tiny feather then strong wings carry her up to the tree, to the nest almost complete tiny feather is tucked amongst the fragrant pine needles she becomes a soft lining for mother, eggs and hatchlings once again she rests under the warm, beating heart and knows that wind and mother moon and nest all are God all are home
by Celeste Boudreaux, April 2022
This poem is inspired by Hildegard of Bingham, who spoke of herself and her life’s work as “a feather on the breath of God.” This is the kind of radical surrender that lead to a vast, interior freedom.