Folks like to say change is good and I guess that's true some of the time—like when the leaves change from summer-green to autumn-orange during September and October. That kind of change is beautiful. But sometimes change isn't beautiful or enjoyable to be in, especially if your friend has been hurt and their life might be changed forever. We were soaking up Fall in Church Fork when The Upper Twin came rushing through the trees, out of breath and gasping, "Something 'dred-full' has happened to Penny!"
In seconds, The Troop flocked to The Upper Twin and listened to her story of Penny's terrible encounter with the menacing bird with the red-cross eyes. "He had been following us all day," stammered The Upper Twin, "and Penny just couldn't fly fast enough." Have you ever been talking about scary things and noticed how it feels? It feels like dark clouds rumbling in your heart and mind.
While The Under Twin tried comforting his sister, Magnus and A.X. mapped out a plan to help our friend. "Our fastest flyers need to find her A.S.A.P.," ordered A.X. Magnus figured out where Penny was from The Upper Twin's topographical description. Like a lightning bolt on a clear day, Black Jack, Baron and Pascal launched out of the forest to find Penny and Yvette. "The rest of us will rendezvous at The Eaves of the Cathedral to find a healing bird and wait for them there." It's good to have friends that are swift and clear-headed in a panic.
When the flyers were getting close to the cave, they heard crying and knew it was Yvette. The cave was eery and sad as Penny lay in cold stillness, her legs useless, broken off. Yvette didn't twitch or move when they floated in because she was focused on keeping her best friend warm. "We've been giving her water while we've been waiting," cooed a small blue bird. "This is Billie," sniffed Yvette, "She was hiking and found us in the cave; she has been helping me with Penny. I've been hiding for hours. I'm so afraid. She hasn't woken up. And... her... legs..." "We must hurry. Put her on my back and surround her; we need to get her to The Eaves of the Cathedral." Baron whispered.
Lifting the four birds onto his strong, wind-cutting back was like lifting four feathers for Baron. "Let's get moving," he rumbled, "B.J., can you pick up her legs?" Black Jack never cries. At anything. But today he did as he carried his friends legs in his. What would Penny do without her legs? He tried imagining what it would be like to have his wings cut off. He shuttered and another tear dripped into the air. Poor Penny.
The rest of The Troop was anxiously waiting at The Eaves of the Cathedral. Edward and A.X. were speaking with some of the local birds and found out more about this menacing "dred-full" bird while a healing bird, Golda E. Schoolhouse, instructed The Troop, "Please clear a space near the roof edge for me to examine Penny. I'll need every second." Suddenly the flyers zoomed into view, heading directly for the cathedral.
Golda took a close look at Penny, examining her red-cross eyes. "I've seen this before and it isn't easy to heal. The red-cross eye is a symptom of dredification. She's alive, but can't move or make a sound. Her heart is filled with an unbearable, terrible nightmare-fear. We're going to have to ask for some assistance from within the Cathedral. I know exactly who to ask but I can only take one of you with me." Black Jack moved in directly behind her.
Golda took Penny to the golden lights near the seraphim. "Dear seraphs, can your healing wings help our friend?" They nodded and began to flap their cosmic wings but nothing changed with Penny. They tried again and her eyes remained unchanged. Frowning, they pointed towards the pipe organ, floating the birds there with the wind of their wings. Suddenly Golda realized where they were being sent.
In full view of the resplendent resurrection window, Golda, Black Jack and poor Penny landed gently below the protective saint of animals: St Francis of Assisi. He smiled down at the birds as sunlight shone through him, onto them. Before Golda could ask for his help he smiled goldenly and whispered, "A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows." Golda's eyes grew wide, "I know exactly what we need to do!"
"We need to take Penny to the top of Mount Olympus and let Sunbird surround her with sunbeams. But we need to get there the way Penny would get there, if she were awake."
Have you ever walked a mile in somebody else's shoes? Have you ever hiked 9,026 feet in their boots? Have you used your legs and gone the distance others have gone with their legs, to see what they see with their eyes? Did you feel a change in the way you walk? Did you feel a change in the way you see?
Exhausted, sweaty and jelly-legged, we finally made it to the top of Mount Olympus. We placed Penny on the mailbox, hoping our message of what we needed would be understood by Sunbird. As Black Jack placed her legs next to her body, we realized why Penny loved her legs so much and why she chose to run everywhere. "And now," whispered Golda, "We leave her to the sunbeams." Before we left, Sophia hummed something beautiful and sad.
It felt strange leaving Penny all alone. We didn't really know how to do it, so we found The Waiting Tree and hung out for awhile, silent, thinking of our friend. As I looked up at Sunbird and wondered about the power in sunbeams, I suddenly found myself thinking about the terrible, "dred-full" bird. Where had he come from and why was he such a bully?
Sometimes change takes place when you can't see it or it happens when you least expect it. This is why change is surprising and mysterious at the same time. While we were waiting for what we didn't know we were waiting for, a soft, down-filled cloud knit with sunbeams drifted to The Waiting Tree—like an answer for our unknown questions. Without speaking a word, each of us climbed onto the cloud and floated home on a gentle breeze.
What is going to happen to Penny? What will happen if we run into the "dred-full" bully bird again? We don't know for sure, but receiving a gift stitched with sunbeam has given us a bright hope.
To be continued...