Don’t Throw Away Your Torn down Coat. Let It Molt instead and See What Happens.
Watch the expression on people’s faces as the feathers fly.
Two small tears appeared on my not too inexpensive black down coat after wearing it for only one year. No big deal, I decided. I’d wear it anyway.
Then I noticed an occasional feather on the ground and decided it wasn’t a good idea to wear it after all. They would float about here and there, blow in the wind like dandelion weed or little angel wings.
I had visions of feathers, like the bread crumbs in the forest, leading from my front door, to my car, the subway and finally my office.
But shopping for a new coat wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list. So despite the molting effect, I continued to wear it.
My black coat is a staple in my wardrobe as it is for many Bostonians. For this reason, Boston winters after Christmas are very black and white. And if there’s no snow, it’s like looking a landscape of black cats hunched over in anticipation of Halloween.
I had every intention of replacing it. Just a little longer. Okay, I’ll move it up the list and actually do it.
Then it happened.
I grabbed a seat on the train, plopped myself down and POOF! A feather floated upward, ever so slowly. A passenger walking by obliviously spun it up and into a whirl. It then descended slowly and began to rock itself in a cradle-like motion back and forth, back and forth.
It continued to descend slowly in front of a young woman. She looked up in disbelief, her eyes grew thin. Her expression was that of someone who had walked into a bathroom that grandpa had just spent an hour in, and she pointed at the feather.
It was a cold, crowded, rush hour train and the fact that this woman took this feather as a personal affront made me laugh.
This innocent little white feather had actually offended her. Others looked up from their phones and stared at it quizzically, long enough to take a breath. A few people smiled.
My coat now has a new purpose.
In yoga, a drishti is a focused gaze and a means to develop concentrated attention. The feather had created this moment of attention. A moment of mindfulness and for a few, a moment of happiness.
Then back to the phones.
But for one fleeting moment it was there.
The feather also made me realize that laughter is the best medicine. And humor is available anytime if you slow down, breathe, and observe. Even on a crowded subway train in the dead of winter, you can find an oddity that can make you smile almost like an unexpected tickle.
And sometimes you can be the one who is doing the tickling.
I don’t know if anyone suspected me as the perpetrator of the feather. I played dumb, but smiled to myself feeling like the cat who swallowed the canary.
That moment helped me forget the fact I was on my way to work, that I wasn’t happy. It emptied out some of the negative and made room for positive energy. It was healing in a sense, to me and others.
It’s critical to look for small things to create joy. By keeping our eyes opened we can find small things, like feathers, to make us laugh. Once you can laugh, and feel some lightness, you can reflect it outward because our outside world is a reflection of our inside world.
For these reasons, I am not going to repair or replace my coat.
And I am going to continue to wear it.
Why would I want it any other way?