Friday, June 20, 2014
This morning, cycling from Brackley Beach to Covehead Harbour, in Prince Edward Island National Park, I found an eagle feather in the grass on the edge of the trail. My wife spotted it, and I went back and picked it up. It’s a wing feather, dark gray, with a tiny patch of white at the base. I treasure it. It brings to mind the scene in Ian Frazier’s great On the Rez (2000), in which Le War Lance, one of my favorite characters in all of literature, gives Frazier an eagle feather:
He was wearing a gray felt cowboy hat with a tall, uncreased crown and an eagle feather hanging from the back on a buckskin thong. He took off the hat and untied the eagle feather and handed it to me. He said it was a present for my son, then only a month or two old. We shook hands, and I wished him luck. He said as soon as he had gotten himself some Chinese food he would catch the next bus home. On the subway back to Brooklyn, three people asked me about the eagle feather. A black man in an Indian-style choker necklace made of pipe beads asked if I would be interested in selling it. I smiled and said no.