It was excessively humid yesterday. I took Jazzmin for a short walk in the morning and while it was cool, the air was far too thick with humidity to be comfortable. The air was even hotter and heavier by our evening walk and the moment I stepped out onto the road and felt the heat radiating off the pavement, I decided we’d walk up the farmer’s access road. I knew it wouldn’t be much cooler but the ground is more grass and dirt and the trees lining it provide shade.
Jazzmin is always very excited on the access road because she can smell the deer that frequently travel along it. There’s also no shortage of birds, chipmunks, squirrels and bunnies that like to make the occasional appearance. We made it along the straight part of the path without any major issues and I was quite ready to go home and shower the sweat off! I turned us back around and we started our return trip. I then heard an unfamiliar noise that made me stop.
The noise was coming from the long grove of trees that lay just beyond where the curve in the road starts. It sounded like a crow call but deeper and more ominous than I’d heard before, almost like a bark. Curious, I walked toward the noise wanting to know exactly what animal was making it and why. I suppose there are people who would turn and run from such a haunting sound but I’ve learned that walking toward the unknown can reveal amazing discoveries.
Getting closer to the origin of the noise meant walking off the access road and into the farmer’s recently mowed field. The ground was still a bit soggy from recent rain and all the humidity so Jazz and I had to navigate around a few puddles. Following the continuing noise, I charged on through the field and a few moments later a red-tailed hawk flew out of the trees and to a spot further down in the grove. I love hawks and feel they are a very positive sign and symbol, so whenever I see them I smile. I continued walking toward the small pond in that field and the hawk appeared again, this time flying across the field to a thicker forest of trees. A crow then emerged from the trees near us and followed the hawk across the field where it started making unhappy noises that were more familiar to me. The noise I’d heard was in fact a crow being rather upset that a hawk was near something important to it, a nest or some fallen prey perhaps.
Satisfied that I’d solved that mystery, I led Jazz back toward the road. As we walked along the tree line I saw some fallen branches and I approached them hoping maybe we’d find a deer antler. I didn’t find a deer antler but I did find a rather beautiful feather. I picked it up and was in awe of how it’s copper color reflected the light. I collect feathers and that feather was certainly the largest and nicest I’ve found yet. I didn’t want to put it into Jazz’s backpack and risk damaging it so I tucked it into the top of my ponytail where I knew it’d be safe. If I’d encountered anyone on that walk back they would have probably done a doubletake seeing a feather protruding from my hair.
Proud of my discoveries and my little treasure, I walked Jazzmin back home. Once in the house, I tucked the feather into a spot on my desk-side cork board and then happily showered to feel human again. After my shower I powered up my computer and began searching through images of bird feathers trying to figure out what I’d found. I ruled out red-tailed hawk and owl but among the random images I found an exact match. Clicking on the image I read that it was a wild turkey feather. Sure enough, when I went to the full website, there were more examples of turkey feathers and what I had found matched exactly. I was so happy I’d figured it out! It was fascinating to me that such a beautiful feather could come from creatures that look less than graceful when they attempt to fly.
Once again I learned something new by walking toward the unknown. Nature showed me that being brave brings unique gifts and that sometimes the most beautiful things can come from the most unexpected sources.