James H. Smith

(We Are Never Left Alone)

James H. Smith: Gray Eagle (We Are Never Left Alone)Gray Eagle sat at the highest point of the mountain, seeing nothing, yet watching everything.

His mind played tricks on him as he watched two Eagles floating on the thermal updrafts from the valley. His mind drifting, remembering Floating Cloud and the many times they had sat here on this very place and talked watching life pass below their lofty perch.

He remembered the small ones when they were born, and how he and Floating Cloud had taken turns watching them day and night until they were big enough to get along on their own. It seemed so long ago now.

He watched a small stream below him as it snaked its way through the trees, coming to a resting point in a small lake that sat in a beautiful flowered meadow before it moved its way on down the mountain. His heart warmed as he remembered how they would go to the lake, splash in the water to clean themselves, and then catch fish out of the small stream for their meal.

But now he sat alone, perched on this highest rock on the mountain above the valley, with loneliness truly touching his heart.

The winter snows had been deep and early; ice covered everything. He and Floating Cloud had not moved on, as they normally did, to a warmer place when they felt winter coming on. She had not been well and was unable to travel the distance they needed to go, so they just moved lower in the valley and stayed the winter. But Floating Cloud’s sickness did not go away, only got worse as winter became longer. Now that the warmth of the spring sun had pushed the cold of winter and the snows away, he sat alone; winter had taken Floating Cloud from him. Time had said, “It’s time her spirit moves along its way.”

He had lay beside her, his body pressed to hers, their heads touching as she trembled from the cold and the sickness in her small body. Then she was gone and all that remained was an empty shell where once she had lived.

Gray Eagle did not know what to do. They had been two of body, but one of heart, one of mind and one of soul. Now half of him was gone and he didn’t know where to go or what to do. So he just sat beside her for many long days and nights until he could no longer stay.

Now he sits in the warm spring sun on the highest rocky cliff on the mountain.

Gray Eagle throws his head back and screams to the heavens, “Great Maker, why have you done this to me? Why have you taken the half of me that I needed to live? Can you not give me an answer?”

As his cry dies away, Gray Eagle pitches himself forward off the cliff edge and falls toward the valley below.

As he falls, he spreads his wings and floats out over the valley like he and Floating Cloud had so often done in their daily hunts for food, and at times for the simple joy of drifting effortlessly on the thermal currents rising from the valley.

But now he drifted there alone with only his memories.

A bright shadow flashes across his wing, he feels warmth, no longer alone. Floating Cloud’s voice comes clearly in his head.

“Though I may not be with you in body, we are forever one my mate. Know this and remember, you shell never fly alone, I am always with you. We may forever hold close that which animates our hearts; you to me, me to you.

I simply wait now until the time when we may again touch wing to wing, spirit to spirit.”

Gray Eagle once again throws his head back and screamed to the heavens. But this time it was happiness, and all he said was, “Great Maker,

Thank You!”