Feathers Fly

It is Tuesday and the gruelling day that was yesterday has left me with my Tuesday headache; a result of too much stress and not enough water.

I am in recovery mode. I walk the dog on the oval outside my house. The lawn mower man in his air-conditioned hub smiles. Thumbs up to the dog walker as he trails his lawn mower and green grass clippings fly behind him. He permeates my world with the smell of my childhood; freshly cut grass. Murphy bunny hops in excitement at seeing his mate the red standard poodle with Tigger for a name. His owner has red hair too.

In the grass Murphy snuffles and emerges with a white feather stuck to his wet nose.

It is a remnant of the weekend.

On Saturday night for the PIAF festival opening the sky was snowing feathers. Below people sat on the warm bitumen of the closed off main city street. They took over the city. The cars were gone. A French troupe, Les Studios de Cirque, soared from the blue and pink glowing council chambers to Saint George’s cathedral. From sky scraper to sky scraper they sped, super-hero style, trawling white silk. Then others, dressed all in white, slowly trundled the wire with suitcases, umbrellas and buckets laden with feathers, emptying them onto the street below. Large clumps, as big as bricks, fell from the sky. But bricks of feathers are just pillows. Sack after sack of feathers came showering down on the crowd below. People stood with arms outstretched reaching for the falling feathers.

Children are running and collecting the booty in bags, or stuffing them into shirts and pockets, if they have come ill-prepared.

People’s hair is covered in down. Feathers are drifting and swirling in the breeze, taken way by it, dropped down by it, pushed into gutters, piled into baby strollers. Tickling their way into shirts and down between cleavages. A helium-filled white angel, the size of a small truck, is led through the crowd. Bending and bowing. Bobbing.

For the finale the feathers fly upwards from machines in the centre of the street, so it is raining feathers and eventually the road is snow-covered, at least ankle deep in down. People are drunk on feathers. They take strangers by the hand and twirl them. They take up huge armfuls and fling them in the air. Feathers are falling all about, snow of the softest kind. In the warm Perth air snow-like-anything is out of place. Caught in the spot-light the feathers are like a blizzard. The t-shirt and sandal wearing crowd, so used to the sand and the sun, are turned child-like by the storm of feathers. Permission to play. A huge Perth pillow fight.

On the train home strangers talk to one another because they too have feathers in their hair. Like the fox that has raided the chicken coop the passengers have the tell-tale marks of a night on the town, playing under falling feathers. Soon the carriage floor is littered with the white fluff. A woman beside me shows me inside her top to her bra that is overflowing with feathers. A child stretching to reach the hand hold on the carriage roof reveals a pair of shorts whose pockets are bulging. A t-shirt rides up and a waist band with feathers poking out is seen. Mothers, like brazen shoplifters, have their handbags crammed.

For those who have not been at the performance, but at the rugby instead, the sight of the feather-clad passengers is eye goggling. What have you people been up to? Playing beneath the falling feathers, why of course.

We leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of feathers from the station to our house. Then we set free our stash. We release them in our street under the glow of the street light, far from where they have come.

The next day, driving to work, I spot a lonesome feather swirling its way down the street. Fly feather fly.


check out this film by local artists Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision