I've always been a collector. I had all sorts of items squirreled away in different parts of the yard I grew up in. It was a sad day when I had to give up part of my hoard.
I was about 7 years old, wandering around the yard like usual, I stumbled upon a beauty of a feather; jet black and shiny, a perfect specimen and I couldn't resist. I was holding it for several seconds when I felt something crawling on the back of my fingers. Startled, I turned my hand over to reveal a huge black beetle, not unlike the colour of the feather, clinging to my skin. Several hard shakes and it would not let go. I used my other hand to get rid of it and ran in the opposite direction.
Now, here is the interesting part - my mind decided that somehow this beautiful feather that I was still holding had somehow magically produced the little monster that had scared the wits out of me. And being witless as I was, became convinced of it. I dropped the feather, went to my room where I kept this particular delicate collection, took them outside and dumped the lot.
Fear had taken something from me. Where there was once intrigue and beauty, now every time a feather presented itself, all I could feel was disgust.
Fast forward to years later. My daughter has the same interest in random items found in nature. She has a small collection of feathers in a special place in her room. When out on a walk recently, I saw this beauty of a feather, my first inclination was to take a photo of it and leave it where it was. I knew however, that it would make a lovely "Good Morning" gift for my girl. Strong memories of why I do not pick up feathers were at the forefront of my mind when I picked it up, turned it over and gently placed it in my pocket.
I couldn't help but wonder if there was a large beetle exploring in there, and I had to remind myself several times on my way home that I had thoroughly inspected it.
As expected, it did make a much appreciated gift and her smile was worth it. Also, I do believe I made some headway in resolving an old irrational fear. That's not to say I'm restarting that particular collection, but now, someday is a possibility.