CHAPTER 8 of Talon, come fly with me


You Did All That for Me?

Curious as he was, the condor dropped down to Matica as usual, but he wouldn’t catch the food. Instead he passed her with an elegant swoop. It was as if a hurricane went over the top of her. It also appeared to her as if the whole sky parted, let him through and she was blown on the wind of the universe — that he was the wind. Such thoughts went through her mind in seconds, too fast for her to really grasp what was happening.

She missed several heartbeats as she watched the huge bird. Is this really happening? she thought. Then her heart started to thud as if a fist was banging against her chest from the inside.

The big condor tried to land on one of the top branches of the nearest conifer tree, but the branch was much too thin for his size and snapped under his weight.

Oh my gosh, Matica thought. That can’t be happening!

The condor dropped down, feet first, but before he could catch himself, he knocked his body, then his head, on the next branch as well as his spread-out wings. Matica was shocked. Don’t break your wings! she screamed inside.

In a nanosecond, the condor stretched out his talons — clumsily, Matica thought — and stuck his claws into the next thicker branch, but it was too late in his fall. He couldn’t hold himself upright and so swung around and hung upside down, trying to collect himself.

As he hung there, that branch also cracked under his weight. As it broke off, he fell further. As he wouldn’t let go of the branch, his fall was slowed tremendously, but when he hit the next branch, it was knocked out of his claws.

Free of the branch now, he stuck his talons into the next one. Hanging upside down once more, he swung around and tried to stand up with the help of his beak and wings. It took him a while by straining every muscle of his body, but finally he stood up. He then looked down at Matica triumphantly with an elongated neck and his wings spread.

Matica started to breathe again. What a majestic bird! she thought.

The bird folded his wings and broke off little branches that were poking into his body, then he looked keenly at Matica with his head tilted. His expression seemed to say, ‘How was that? Did I do well, or what? Now, what do you want of me?’

‘Hey,’ she said, walking over to him, ‘you did all that for me? But I guess you don’t do that very often, do you? You’re too big for landing on trees.’

She stretched out her hand and, reaching his talons, she caressed them, then she gave him his food. As he tucked it under his talon and ripped it apart, she said again, ‘Your legs aren’t designed for landing on trees. They are too short. Why not land on the ground? Wouldn’t that be better? You eat on the ground.’

Finishing his food, he grunted a ‘thank you’ then stretched his neck down to her, sniffing her face and hands. Matica giggled. It tickled. Not afraid anymore, Matica stroked his beak, his neck then his talons again.

Before long, he flew off by jumping first to the ground then running a short distance before lifting up into the air. A very happy Matica ran with a triumphant smile, cartwheeling all the way home.

The next day, it wasn’t as traumatic for the bird to land on the

branch. It still wasn’t easy, but with each day, it became less trouble as more little branches were broken away.

Thrilled, Matica met him like this for a week, and every time she came to see him, his mate would circle above them. Still, she wondered why he wouldn’t land on the ground. She would ask him why every day.

On the seventh day, he landed as usual on his branch and took Matica’s food gift. Then Matica asked him the same question again. ‘Come on, condor,’ she added. ‘Come down, will you?’ He looked deeply into her green eyes, trying to understand her.

Then it happened.

Amazon – Talon