I'm not looking for signs. I trust! Mostly! But feathers fascinate me. The disembodied single white feather that floats from the sky and lands at my feet. It is said that such a feather is the sign of an angel. But you couldn't take that too seriously here in Hastings, given the multitude of white feathered seagulls that populate our skies and rooftops and streets. There are bound to be feathers - lots of single feathers falling.

And I'm cautious about angels. They're not all to be trusted and the Bible tells us that the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light. I stick to the Angels of the Lord - Archangels and Guardian angels.

Still a feather has what it takes to demand my attention. Like the other night on the homeward leg of my daily walk. There was a stiff breeze and I felt a sudden light sting on my mouth and realized that a small white feather had lodged itself right between my lips. As precise as the seagull who nicked the flake out of my ice cream a few months ago. Had I just been kissed by a passing angel? That was the thought that occurred to me.

Further on up the seafront when the rain came in, an Angel enfleshed fell upon my breast with burdens too heavy to bear and mine was the gift to lift some of its weight, though not all.

Later still in my sleepless solitude the torment of other people's hell came to me. I saw its darkness and felt the cold of its flame and my own inability to rescuse a child from unspeakable horrors. Not a mythical spiritual realm but a reality of this world inspired by the prince of darkness and executed by mankind.

It was a homeless angel who met my desolation in the morning and kissed me twice for my one small act of kindness, holding me in a tight embrace that I could not escape. It was the grace that kept me going a little while longer.

"Angel of God, whom God has appointed my Guardian, enlighten, protect, direct and govern me this day.  Amen!"

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