Into the Heart of the Sun (Part 1)

 
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY (PublicDomainPictures)

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY (PublicDomainPictures)

 

One morning Grandmother Eagle woke Young Eagle and bade him follow her to the mountain. It was early. Sun was just beginning to envelop all the world in his warm embrace.

Young Eagle loved his Grandmother very much. Of course he would go wherever she asked.

Nonetheless, Young Eagle grew tired on their journey. He created a game to help, competing with Wind to see who could move the air faster. He was careful to stay just behind his Grandmother’s right side, grateful to share in the updraft of her powerful wings. He did not want to lose her. 

They flew on and on, chasing Sun’s path across the sky.

At last they reached the highest peak of the highest mountain on Earth. They perched on Rock, whose long sheer face defied Wind without malice or apology. Together, they watched Sun plié to the horizon, the graceful lowering of his arms leaving vivid trails of honey, rose and boysenberry in their wake.

At last Grandmother Eagle spoke. 

“I have a gift for you, my dear. Are you ready?”

“Yes! Oh, please, what is it, Grandmother?”

“When you were born, your name came to me in a dream: you are Red Feather.”

“Red Feather? But why?”

“That is part of the gift. The unwrapping of it is up to you.” She turned the full power of her golden gaze on him and spoke gently.

“It is time for me to go, little one.” 

Red Feather misheard her. “All right, Grandmother. If you say so. Where to now?” 

“This journey is not yours, Red Feather.”

Understanding dawned. “Wait, what do you mean? I don’t want you to leave!” 

“I will never leave you. But you won’t see me in the same way for quite some time.” 

Red Feather swallowed his grief long enough to ask: 

“Where are you going?” 

“Home. To myself. Someday you will understand. Until then, dance with Wind, be fearless like Rock and warm your heart in Sun.” 

Grandmother unfolded her magnificent wings and held him close for a long moment. 

“I love you always,” she whispered. And with that, she took off, heading straight for Sun’s resting place. 

Red Feather remained on the mountain, alone.

For a time, his shock masked the cold, the dark, his exhaustion. Eventually he realized he could not stay. The first mighty flap brought life back to his body, but his heart remained numb. He soared away from the mountain, towards home.

It was a moonless night.

Weak from the day’s journey, Red Feather gradually lost altitude, though he did not realize it. The forest beneath him grew ever closer. Further blinded by his grief, did not see the tall redwood until it was too late. He heard a sickening smack, and everything went black.

When consciousness returned, Red Feather found himself resting on the wide, low branch that broke his fall. His powerful talons kept him upright out of pure instinct. The night remained. He leaned against the redwood’s mighty trunk, surveying himself for damage and the source of intense pain. It was his right wing. It hung midway at an impossible angle.

The sight shot fear throughout his body. He was trapped, broken, desperate for food and water, and utterly lost. For a time, the fear overpowered him. How would he survive? What would become of him? He closed his eyes and wept.

A familiar call sliced through his terror.

Hoo-h’hoo-hoo-hoo              

It was a great horned owl.

At the sound, Red Feather opened his eyes and looked up. He caught the last view of the owl as it flew away, seeking a new perch somewhere in the beyond. In the owl’s absence, Red Feather noticed the sky. Thousands of tiny stars winked and blinked at him, as if to say, “We see you. You are not alone.”

This small comfort numbed the edges of Red Feather’s pain and weakness. It reminded him of happy evenings spent star-gazing with his Grandmother. Her final words to him came rushing back.

“I will never leave you. But you won’t see me in the same way for quite some time.” 

A high-pitched wail burst from him, unbidden.

“Grandmother! Please, let me feel you. Please, don’t leave me alone. Please, help me. Help me. I don’t know what to do. I need you.”

The sobs wracked his body, taking the last of his energy.

The world went dark again. But this time, Red Feather could still See.

His Grandmother was with him! She hovered over him and around him, constantly in motion. She hummed and soothed and occasionally stroked his broken wing. He smiled. All was well. All would be well. All had always been well. His peace restored, Red Feather relaxed further into a dreamless sleep.

Some hours later, he felt the warm embrace of Sun, sighed deeply and opened his eyes. The pain was gone! The sight of his wing, fully restored and enfolded neatly against his body, was astonishing. He took an experimental stretch and gasped. Three new feathers had grown overnight in the lower underside of his wing. They were long, deeply red and beautiful.

Suddenly, he heard his Grandmother’s voice in his mind, “From me to you, dear one. Use them wisely, for they hold great power. I love you.”

Red Feather wept again, this time in gratitude. “Thank you for hearing me, Grandmother. Thank you for healing me. I love you.”

A deep knowing that he was never alone anchored inside. The unbroken connection brought renewal and strength. Red Feather flew from his perch in search of water and fish for the next leg of his journey home.   


Stay tuned for part two…