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Topic: Dedicated to Peter Turner and Jacques
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Oct 24, 2013 11:38PM)
At first glance this appears lengthy, but I sincerely ask that you continue to read. It is profoundly special to me.

Yesterday, something special happened. A state of emotion was evoked within me, and my spectator, that can only be described as TRUE MAGIC. It ended in genuine happiness of tears. I wanted to share this with you. It all revolved around a simple object reveal. I dedicate this to the well known, Peter Turner...and to the not so well known, Jacques. I shall start at the beginning...

I used to work at a local zoo about a year ago. Well yesterday, out of the blue, I woke up and decided to go up there and volunteer. It was the most beautiful of days. Fall weather, bright sunshine upon my face all day.

Now...when it starts to get cold weather, alligators stop eating. Today just so happened to be the LAST day we were to feed our alligator, Jacques. He is 67 years old. Yes, you read that correctly. Sixty seven years of age. My, how long that must be for an animal in captivity. He has one eye (the other one caught an infection earlier in life). He is also missing the majority of his teeth. He is not expected to live throughout this winter.

I was feeding him when I noticed the most perfectly shaped, symmetrical bird feather, lying ever so gently on a lily pad. It was almost as if someone had purposely placed it there. But in all likelihood, it was just yet another common example of happenstance. A bird was simply flying along, high above the skies, when a gust of wind came along and blew a feather from it's wings. It spiraled down, changing its course of direction, until it finally landed softly upon a lily pad inside of an alligators holding. Or maybe a higher power had placed it there?

I had to have this feather. There was just something about it. Something this beautiful and perfect did not belong inside of a foul stagnant marsh. The problem was...it was right next to the alligators mouth. I tried to reach and grab it with the prongs that we use to feed him the chicken. I couldn't reach it. I actually just pushed it further into the pond. I continued to try and fish for it until I was called on the radio to meet the supervisor at the office.

Screw it, I said. It's just a feather. I have plenty more. I climbed out of the pond and latched the gate, all the while keeping my eyes on the feather. As I walked off I continued to stare at it.

An emotion in me built up inside of my chest with every step I took walking away from it. I continued to look back at it. The closest way I can describe this feeling was when I was put onto the school bus for the very first time, and as it pulled away, I wiped the morning dew from the window to see my mothers smiling face.

Was I just being silly? Was this just my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicking in? Or, had I just fished for it for so long that I just felt compelled to succeed in getting it? Either way, I felt genuine sadness as I walked away.

I got about 50 yards and realized I had forgotten my sunglasses on the bench beside the pond. When I went back to get them, I stood witnessing the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. The alligator (Jacques) was coming towards the bank with a lily pad resting on his back. He had went underwater and came back up underneath the lily pads (as he always does. But this lily pad was special. Need I tell you why?

You have GOT to be kidding me, I told myself. Literally THOUSANDS of lily pads in the pond, yet he was bringing this particular one towards the bank. Was this just yet another crazy happenstance? I stood there contemplating whether this animal knew what he was doing.

I unlocked the gate and climbed in with the prongs. I was taking a HUGE risk by getting this close to an alligator. If my supervisor had seen this, I wouldn't have been allowed to work at the zoo anymore. I reached out and plucked it from the lily pad. As soon as I lifted the prongs and I saw that I had the stem of the feather securely, I felt as if I was a small boy who had just snagged his first fish. I reeled it in.

I sat on the bench where I had left my glasses, inspecting the feather in all its glory. "MY PREEEECIOUS." How beautiful it was, and how worth all of this had been. I thought about where the bird was that it had came from. I went to place it in my pocket. No...not there, it will get bent. I placed it in my cargo pocket instead, being careful not to damage or fold it over. As I walked away, Jacques backed away from the bank, submerging himself within the weeds and grasses, disappearing like a shadow blending in with another inanimate shadow. He no longer exist to the public. This is just an empty pond. Move along.

Fast forward to me and my coworkers getting off work. As we walked to our cars, we laughed, sharing stories that had occurred throughout the day. I spoke of nothing of my feather. It is mine. It can't be looked at by anyone else, nor touched. It belongs in a wooden box on the top of my closet shelf. No one must ever know how I came about this feather.

A semi new girl that had begun working there proposed that we go have some drinks. Everyone had things to do. Gotta bathe the kids, gotta cook supper, gotta go run errands. "Bummer, she said. Maybe Friday."

"I'll go, I replied." She turned around smiling. "Lets just go home and change and then Ill meet you there, is that ok?" "Actually...she said, I just wanted to go straight there. I know were dirty and all, but if I go home and shower and change it will be too late."

"That's fine I said. Does Oscar's sound good?" (Oscars has the best margaritas).

We agreed to meet there. Over the course of our meal and drinks, much conversation was shared. I got to know her (as today was the first day that I had ever met her. She didn't work there when I did).

She excused herself to the restroom. I sat there staring at one of Oscar's business cards on the table. "DOOOON'T YOU DO IT!"...I thought to myself. I had had to much to drink to perform. (Two for one margaritas sneak up on you fast.) I thought back to an excerpt of Derren Brown's Pure Effect, in which he states that when he performs at parties, he is careful not to drink too much wine, so that his performance is not compromised. Haha, I thought. So much for that. I took another sip of my margarita and began to prefold the business card. I took great care in assuring that the left side overlapped the right side by just a hair, and that the bottom half underlapped the top half as well :)

She came back to the table. "I'd like to share something with you if that's alright?", I said. "Okkkkk?" she replied hesitantly. I performed the Circle and Triangle (one of my all time favorite pieces). I got a direct hit. She smiled. I smiled. We were flying high now.

I directed her attention to the business card and asked that she think of an object. "It might be a random object that you would find around this restaurant or at home, or it might be something more personal", I said. She thought long and hard. She wrote it down and folded it up. I took hold of the billet and did the dirty work. I saw the word...and my world stopped. I had to double check it to be sure. There, in a very beautiful but faint handwriting, was the word "Feather".

My eyes drifted to the side, as though it was clear that I was thinking about something. From her perspective I was trying to pick up on her thoughts. In reality, I was thinking about the feather in my cargo pocket. We were still wearing our zoo uniforms because she didn't have time to go home and change.

This feather now belonged to her, she just didn't know it. Despite how much I loved it, and how special it was to me, I was about to create a real moment of magic by materializing a feather from nothing. Little did I know, however, what it would mean to her.

I grabbed the napkin that our silverware was in while my other hand went into my pocket to palm the feather. I took the napkin at the top two corners and casually showed it on both sides. I folded the corners in, ditching the feather in the middle of the napkin. I asked her to take hold of my left hand with her right, and for her to place her left hand on the napkin. I then placed my right hand on top of her hand that was placed on the napkin. I asked that we both close our eyes. She knew nothing fishy or sneaky could be done because we were both holding each others' hands. I allowed about 30 seconds to go by with complete silence. I peeked open my eyes to see that she still had hers closed. I quickly and softly blew a small bit of air with my mouth toward her face, and then quickly closed my eyes. I then reopened them at the same time that she did hers, and acted startled as though I had felt that same bit of air blow by. I didn't say anything about it and neither did she. She indeed had a strange look on her face though as she was clearly trying to make out where it had came from. I took my hand slowly away from hers. I softly gestured towards the napkin without saying anything. She slowly unfolded it, corner by corner, until there it was. It was 10 times more beautiful laying on this napkin than it was when I was sat on the bench looking at it.

She was speechless for about 4 or 5 seconds, and then she looked up at me. Her eyes were watery and began to fill up, until they could hold no more. One single tear dripped from her right eye. I was slightly confused by the tear, but still said nothing. After a moment, I asked..."What does this mean to you?" She began to tell me that before her cousin had committed suicide, they used to always go on long walks and collect feathers that they found along the way. I now, was the speechless one. She smiled. I smiled. We were flying high now.

So many choices, unknowingly made at the time, all lined up perfectly to create one beautiful piece of magic. If I hadn't had gotten up and volunteered on this particular day (the last day that we feed the alligators) none of this would have happened. If the bird hadn't decided to fly over the pond, it's feather wouldn't have landed on the lily pad. If the alligator hadn't decided to come up for air where he did, he wouldn't have caught the lily pad on his back. If I hadn't had chosen to lay my sunglasses on the bench, I never would have went back for the feather. If I hadn't agreed to not change clothes, I wouldn't have had the feather in my pocket. And from a darker perspective, if her cousin hadn't had committed suicide, she never would have thought of a feather in the first place, in which case none of you would be reading this.

The choices we make in life, however profound or mundane they may seem to be, ultimately define our life. These choices we make map out our existence to the world. They create our memories. They create any and all human (and in this case, even a non human) relationships that we establish on this brief home we call earth. Allow that to sink in. It strikes such a deep chord within me, that I will risk sounding redundant by repeating it.

The choices in which we make in life, map out our existence to the world. However profound or mundane they may seem to be, ultimately define our life. The next choice or decision you make, stop and think...I wonder what will become of this?

In the words of my dear friend Peter Turner, "Take risks...and becomes legends." Just don't take a risk with an alligator like I did ;)

All of my love. See you on the other side,
M
Message: Posted by: matrose9 (Oct 24, 2013 11:56PM)
:'D
Message: Posted by: minty (Oct 25, 2013 12:25AM)
Beautiful.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (Oct 25, 2013 12:34AM)
I had the cr*ppest of days yesterday and woke up to read this lovely story. You did good, both with the event and with the telling of the story. Thanks for sharing.
Message: Posted by: Peter_turner (Oct 25, 2013 03:00AM)
Beautiful story! It's amazing how a series of events can come together like that :)

Awesome brother and thank you for the dedication!

Keep doing what you are doing,

Pete xx
Message: Posted by: KarlScott (Oct 25, 2013 05:04AM)
Gary Dobson alerted me to this, thanks Gary.

Absolutely beautiful story, thanks for sharing.

Karl
Message: Posted by: Sean Giles (Oct 25, 2013 07:55AM)
Lovely story. Thank you for taking the time to share it :)

best,
Sean
Message: Posted by: magicman29 (Oct 25, 2013 12:26PM)
What a lovely story, thanks Matthew for sharing that!

Kieran
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Oct 25, 2013 12:29PM)
Great story thanks for sharing it with us, nice to hear a story like this.
Message: Posted by: kannon (Oct 25, 2013 12:50PM)
It's my view that each and every synchronicity we witness is a nod and wink from the universe that there is some beautiful poetry at play - at times it is up to us to weave the next piece and be part of its creation. As such along side my dream journals I keep a journal of the synchronicities I encounter, for further exploration of what is presenting itself, when and maybe even a glimpse at why.

You did some great weaving.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Oct 25, 2013 01:06PM)
What a fantastic and profound story. Thanks for posting it. Reading that was a great way to start my weekend.

Mark
Message: Posted by: sjrw (Oct 25, 2013 01:42PM)
I agree, a lovely story.
Good job making the best of the perfect coincidences!

But fancy getting so close to an alligator!
Message: Posted by: Waters (Oct 25, 2013 01:55PM)
Beautiful. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Regards,

Sean
Message: Posted by: mikelsc (Oct 25, 2013 02:50PM)
Absolutely beautiful.

Cheers,
M
Message: Posted by: Stephen Young (Oct 25, 2013 03:04PM)
A very nice story, well told.
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Oct 25, 2013 07:11PM)
Thank you all for the kind words. It really is amazing how easily an entire event can change with just one small detail.
Message: Posted by: illusionactor (Oct 26, 2013 08:22AM)
This is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing it. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day. Thanks for reminding me to stop, step back and take notice.
Message: Posted by: Dave Nic (Oct 26, 2013 08:27AM)
Great read. Great story. Thanks for sharing:-)
Message: Posted by: Mind illusionist (Oct 27, 2013 01:15AM)
This is possibly the best story Ive ever read on the Café. Really beautiful and emotionally touching. Thanks very much for sharing it Matthew.

May I have your permission to share it with others too?

kindly,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Oct 27, 2013 01:26AM)
I would be honored for you to share it, Jordan. So glad you find it inspirational. :)

Always a friend
Matthew
Message: Posted by: MaXiMoN (Oct 27, 2013 08:51AM)
Nice read I loved it
you have a real beautiful story to tell in special occasions :)

MaXiMoN
Message: Posted by: Mind illusionist (Oct 27, 2013 11:23PM)
Thanks Matthew! social media here I come haha. (and don't worry I will probably edit out the bits that are exposure for laymen)

kindly,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Remarkable Marco (Oct 28, 2013 08:16AM)
Neat. Funny psychological effect: as I was reading the story, in my mind it started sounding like it was in Peter Turner's voice...
Message: Posted by: Trois (Oct 31, 2013 08:15PM)
Was this at Alligator Adventure........if so I put the feather there...........weird !
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Oct 31, 2013 08:40PM)
No. this was at a Zoo I worked at in Mississippi :)
Message: Posted by: david12345 (Oct 31, 2013 08:46PM)
That really was an incredible experience and like everyone else said - Thank you for sharing!
Message: Posted by: MatthewSims (Oct 31, 2013 08:57PM)
Thank you, David. Some things are just too special to keep for ourselves. The feather was one of those things, as well as the story :)
Message: Posted by: Gourmet (Mar 9, 2014 03:05PM)
Bravo :applause:
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Mar 9, 2014 04:34PM)
Serendipity!
Message: Posted by: MagisterFreud (Mar 9, 2014 06:31PM)
You said it yourself: TRUE MAGIC!
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 9, 2014 08:04PM)
Wonderful and touching!

You gave your friend an experience she will never forget.

Thank you for sharing.
Message: Posted by: Vlad Grigorescu (Mar 11, 2014 03:23PM)
I wanted the story to be longer... Loved it! That's magic!
Message: Posted by: MagicFett (Mar 11, 2014 08:08PM)
Thanks for resurrecting this great to read it again!
Message: Posted by: 123crampt (Mar 12, 2014 05:46AM)
Amazing
Message: Posted by: Rolyan (Mar 12, 2014 07:25AM)
If that had been me, she would have thought of a lily pad!