The Rare Bird

+I saw her first in her feathered form

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a mythic beast who lives as a bird on the water but sheds her feathers to become woman on land

I was three weeks in to an Atlantic crossing, fair winds and all following seas, wing-on-wing, single-handing, tethered in. I’d been alone so long I wasn’t human.
The day had opened up hot. Eight knots of wind steady on the back of my neck, no land for weeks, sparse white clouds high overhead. The sky and the ocean the same deep blue meeting at the horizon. The slow roll of the waves was my whole world and my heartbeat.

All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck and I slammed my hand over my hat as a sudden gust of wind rushed over my sailboat’s stern. I lurched for the sheets - and almost missed her.

Up. I looked up, all the way up. Impossibly high and still rising. I grabbed for my binoculars. She was riding a thermal, motionless. Her wings were brown, orange, striped white and black, vivid coral, pink, neon, like a sea-creature, erupted forth from the water.

I lost sight of her as she rose, her white underbelly merging into a white cloud, but the memory of her was as real to me as each wave’s roll.

Weeks later, I sighted land at Montauk. I anchored out and rowed my dinghy to shore. Scrambling up onto the beach, I saw something.

Nestled under a rock, wet from the tide - it was orangey-pink, striped black and white, vivid, neon, each feather ruffling in the breeze -

I had found the feathered pelt of a rare bird, abandoned on the beach. And leading forth from the wet feathers on the sand, was the shape of a human foot.


I’m currently ON THE WATER, back home to San Francisco JULY 20. My HAIR has gone WILD PEACHY PINK BRUNETTE, and I’ve gone to the dark side and been REVIEWED. Search for me, darling.


twitter: @rarebirding

P411: P219934


2 hours // $1200

3 hours // $1800

4 hours // $2400

6 hours // $3000

0vernight // $4000

48 hours // $10000