I have this thing for feathers. I can’t walk by one on the ground without stopping to look at it. In my office and in my house I have several feathers that have made their way home with me. A rooster feather from the petting zoo. A flamingo feather from a Caribbean vacation. A peacock feather that is a prop in a training exercise.
While most of my feathers are grey and ordinary, one of my favorites is a feather from a hawk. I am sure that hawks were the kind of birds that supplied the quills in the days of ink wells. It is about a foot long and the tip is quite substantial. I can see Thomas Jefferson shaping our country with a similar tool in his hand.
I think about the paradox of how much more quickly we can write today — fingers flying over keyboards or using free-flowing gel pens — but how much less time we take to reflect and discuss in order to have something of substance to say. We tweet and use social media for insignificant sharing which yields quick communication but nothing enduring.
Think about the last tweet or text you received vs. the same number of characters in: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
Would you take the time to craft a more meaningful message if what you are saying was arduous to write, re-write or to communicate with others? Try to do some sharing this week that sounds like you wrote it with a quill.
— beth triplett