Feather Star

And other ancient mysteries.

a colorful feather

Just the other day, we were discussing how it might be a good idea for us to pay close attention to the most enduring species, given our current trajectory. And then you showed up, looking like an underwater plant. Spineless, with branching appendages, radial arms, each like a feather. Where did you keep your fists, and how did you get this far without the opposable thumbs we so prized? What about your capacity for reason? Did you even have reasons? Name one, we challenged, but you were silent.

What you did was something else, and we couldn’t look away. You went on and on, catching what drifted before you. What you lost––namely, arms––you regrew. There is something here, we think. About the way you present as a walking plant, hiding in plain sight. We were trying to name it when you moved away. We were surprised by your speed. We wondered about your purpose but had to surface for air. 

Then we went inland and sat by the banks of a river, the site of another flood. Being creatures prone to contemplation, we often sat at the edges of water bodies, looking for some way to understand the movement between life and loss. When the waters receded, we would see the crowns of drowned monuments, and these would knock against ancestral bones. And we would think of things to notice. Like how the river must know every stone it touches, and these. They went on, knocking, and we left.


Inspired by feather stars.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

5 thoughts on “Feather Star”

  1. I like that thread that starts with when the waters receded and your use / reuse of the knocking, the sound and visceral nature of that. I find I get swept up in the dreamlike rhythm and flow of your stories here, so unusual in the best way. Sorry I’ve been away Stacey and miss hearing your voice here! Hope you’re well and enjoying your summer. What do you make of it, as an English teacher? Curious how you spend your time off..:I’m between work contracts and off myself, and it’s quite blissful. “Knocking about” as it were. Be well! Happy July.

    1. Hi Bill! It’s great to hear from you, and your presence always brings me a smile (in addition to the gift of these kind comments). I hope you are well. I love summer very much, but must confess to being pretty poor at knocking about, so other than some traveling weeks (within the U.S.) I tend to keep the guardrails of a schedule (flexible enough to accommodate my daughter’s needs and anything else that may arise) featuring the things I do/love/want more time for during the year. I have some longer manuscripts that want attention, so that’s what I’m settling into now. That, and being able to get outside more
      : ). Sending lots of “happy July” energy your way, Bill! Thanks always for your visits!

      1. Well that sounds lovely! I’m down with the guardrails of a schedule as you say, thanks for sharing…I find early mornings are just my favorite, any time of the year. Blissing out to some cricket-sounding things here now and yes, hoping I can restart the creative engine too. By getting outside! Thanks for this and the kind note—enjoy your time!

      2. Yes, the MORNINGS. To not have to interrupt them is pure bliss. Enjoy!

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