The game begins with three to six players sitting in a circle, or at a table. In the center, there is a single feather, and one small stone for each player. (If a feather or stones cannot be found, feel free to substitute as needed.) Whoever has flown most recently will begin, and describe in one brief sentence what type of bird they are. What color are you? What are your eyes like? Are you large or small, sleek or clumsy, predator or prey? The only restriction here is that the bird must be able to fly.
Once everyone in the circle has described themselves briefly, the first player will take the feather from the center and describe his or her nesting place in a sentence or two – high in a tree? in a crag by the sea? deep in the desert? a post in the hunters’ camp? – and then tells the others what it is like to take to flight, to leave the nesting place and to go in search of something. You may be searching for food, a mate, someone to play with, a place to stretch your wings in the sun and wind, anything. After a moment, this bird will take a stone from the center and put it in front of themselves, and then pass the feather to another player who does not yet seek something. They will describe taking off in the same way, until every player has done this.
When every player has taken a turn describing taking off in search of something, the feather may next be passed to anyone who has a stone set in front of them. Any bird who receives the feather this way will then describe what they see below them as they fly. Take a few sentences and describe the landscape, or the sea beneath you, the quality of the air, the weather, the sensation of the wind flowing over and through you. Do you see people? Animals? Natural or man-made structures? Nothing? Nobody? Do you have a sense of what it is you seek yet? If you remember something that another bird described, or the one who passed you the feather, and that affects your description, marvelous. If not, that is also fine. After a moment, this bird will pick up its stone, and pass the feather to another player who still knows that they seek something by the stone in front of them. They will describe their flight in the same way, until every player does this.
When every player is holding their stone, the bird who holds the feather places it back in the center, and pauses for a moment. Look around at the other players, and choose one to place your stone in front of. That bird will take a couple of sentences to briefly describe what ends their flight. Do they find the thing they sought after? Do they return to their nesting place, or is their flight interrupted terribly? Do they find something new to search for, or are they contented? If they remember something that another bird described, or the one who passed them their stone, and that affects their description, wonderful. If not, that is also fine. After a moment, that bird’s story is over. They look at the other players, and choose one who still holds a stone in their hand, but has no stone in front of them, and places their stone in front of them. They will describe the end of their flight in the same way, until the every player does this, and every player has a stone in front of them again.
Take a moment, and one by one, each player will choose to return their stone to the center alongside the feather, or keep it with them. If they wish to take a sentence to explain their choice, they may, but it is not required. When everyone has chosen, give the feather to one player. They will begin the next game, next time. Leave the stones where they lie.