I love Navajo silver work and am especially fond of feathers. I have pendants and earrings and a necklace of hand drafted feathers. But this story is about one particular feather pendant I bought in August of 2004. That was the year of my sister's and my first Thelma and Louise road trip to Utah. I had bought my Astro van of Vango fame the previous December. Debbie did not have her jeep yet. In fact she still lived in Texas and I picked her up at the airport and we headed to the canyons.
There are a lot of memories of that 12 days in the wilds including the new alternator for the van, a new camera for my sister, barely making it out of Cottonwood comb before the rains hit, and the case of the vanishing lug nuts. The lug nuts came as we were heading back to the airport through the Navajo Reservation. We had stopped for lunch in Page, Arizona and noticed a lot of hostile Utes wearing anti Glen Canyon Dam t-shirts. But we were in a good mood and nothing was going to ruin it for us. Or so we thought.
Twenty minutes outside of page the van began to shimmy. Debbie was driving and we elected to pull over at a scenic overlook where the Navajo's had set out tables of their jewelry to sell. Behind them was a 400 foot drop off. I climbed out of the car and looked at the front tires to see what might have been causing the vibration and noticed the right front tire was hanging at a weird angle and held on only by one lug nut and a bent lug bolt. This gathered the attention of everyone. One diminutive Navajo woman said, "Obviously spirit has something else in mind for you," as she looked at the long left hand downhill turn we would have attempted if we had not pulled off.
Needless to say there were cell phone calls to make and AAA to contact, airlines to reschedule. And a lot of waiting for the tow truck to show up so we shopped. And I bought this feather from the woman who had spoken to us. She said feathers were lucky. Back in Page at Big O tires we found out this had been happening all day. Evidently someone was removing lug nuts from cars with out-of-state-plates.
I wore the silver feather with a spine of white turquoise almost constantly until about 6 months ago when it lost a stone setting. Broke because of fixing the van which would not stay fixed I looked through my old jewelry to see which I was willing to sell to be melted down given silver prices. The lucky feather was in a box of pieces that needed repaired. I opted to repair my broken luck. And it now hangs again around my neck. I still don't know what spirit has in store for me unless it is painting and telling tales such as this.
I do know that sometimes what appears to be bad luck is actually good: Bad about the lug nuts but good that we stopped; bad about the alternator but good it happened in Moab and not the outback; Bad we didn't get to see the arches on the Cottonwood comb but good we were nut stuck for days in the mud the rain makes of the clay; etc. It is just hard at times to see the good until a distance has been obtained from the incident. Perspective is so important I thought that day sitting on the guard rail looking over the deep canyon beyond the turn we didn't take.