TALON IS LEARNING TO FLY

A Walking and Climbing Talon – Chapter 49

Friday was cloudy with thick rain clouds hanging over the

mountain, but Matica and Talon still walked to Ramah for his

practice. They hadn’t arrived back home yet when bullet-sized raindrops

thundered down on them. They ran the last hundred meters

to the village and took shelter in Amos’s house where Talon pressed

himself close to the wall and waited, anxiously looking at Matica

and the rain.

‘Poor Talon,’ said Jose, who had come home to shelter from the rain

as well, ‘it looks as if he does not like the rain, but it will not last long.

It is too heavy.’

And so it was. After ten minutes, it suddenly stopped as it had

begun. The blazing sun shone through the clouds, filling the air

with hot dampness. Even steam rose from the muddy ground with

big puddles of water.

As Matica and Talon went home, Talon went around every bigger

puddle and stepped over the smaller ones, but he would never step

into a puddle. Coming to the stony ground in front of the house, he

shook his feet to shake off the mud then went inside.

‘Did you tell him to do that?’ Mira asked, amazed.

Grinning, Matica shook her head. ‘No, but he must hate mud and

water. He never stepped into a single puddle.’

Talon didn’t go out again to continue his training until the late

afternoon when the puddles had dried up. Mira prayed that they

would have fine weather for their walk the next day.

And so it was. It was a sunny Saturday, still a bit wet and humid,

but not as hot as before. No clouds hung over the mountain. It was as

clear as it could ever be.

After breakfast, Mira packed their lunch into the basket. Crayn

had told the Indians what they intended to do for Talon and they

thought it was a great idea but wondered if Talon could manage the

long walk and the climb. They volunteered to carry Talon, but Crayn

just smirked. ‘That would be a good idea, but I don’t think Talon

would let himself be carried.’

On the way to Ramah, Aikon was bubbly and cheerful because

he loved the adventure, and Mira hoped that Talon would make it.

Crayn thought to himself: well, I won’t carry him. And Talon? He

chatted happily.

Tamo and Tima met them halfway to Ramah. After a short rest

at the rock in Ramah, they walked on, but Talon began to limp just

as they arrived at the place where the poachers had hidden the egg.

They had a long rest, but his limp didn’t get any better; he waddled

slowly and let his head and wings drop. Only the encouragement of

his parents made him go on. Now and again, he would run and flap

his wings to relieve his feet.

‘What can we do?’ Matica said, concerned.

‘Uh-oh … there’s nothing we can do; we can’t carry him,’ Crayn

said. ‘Just go on, Mat.’

In the end, after nearly four hours of walking, they arrived at the

foothills. Stopping, they admired the scenery. Talon lay down on his

side on the grass, relieving his feet.

‘I’m glad I came,’ Mira said, admiring the view and the mountains.

‘I’ve never seen them so close up. Look at the beautiful scenery.’

She waved her arms around, inhaling deeply. ‘It’s so peaceful here.’

Looking at Talon, how he was laying, she said, ‘He needs a long rest

before he can climb, so we’ll have our lunch here.’

She sat beside Crayn and unpacked the lunch. Next she looked

at Talon and shook her head. ‘Look at him. He really must have sore

feet to lie down like that. I truly hope he can fly back home. Tsk, tsk,

a climbing bird.’

Crayn pulled a face and whispered, ‘Home? Flying, yes, but not

home.’

Mira looked at her daughter in concern, then whispered to Crayn,

‘Pssst, don’t let her hear that.’ Louder, she said, ‘I have to admit, Talon

has done very well up to now.’

‘Look up there,’ Matica said as she and Aikon sat beside her. She

pointed at a high ridge where Tima stood. ‘She’s showing us where

Talon has to go.’

‘Oh my, oh my. Isn’t that a bit high?’ Mira gasped. Crayn just shook

his head.

‘We’ll see, but see the next ridge?’ Matica asked. Mira nodded.

‘That’s where they had the egg. At least we don’t have to go way up

there, but we still need an easy way up. Tamo!’ she called him. ‘Could

you look out and find an easy way up for us?’ Tamo immediately flew

off.

As they packed up their leftovers, Crayn got up to see if Talon was

ready to go on. He sprang to his feet and followed him. ‘Okay,’ he

said, ‘here we go.’

Now came the last part of their journey. Talon was tired and still

limping, but he shook his head impatiently as if to say, ‘I will and I

can do it. Let’s go!’

Mira and Aikon stayed behind and watched them go up the

mountain.

Zigzagging up the wide, soft and grassy path with Tamo flying

before them to show them the way, it was easy going in the beginning

with the ground only sloping upwards a little at a time.

‘Dad, no wonder the poachers could get up here so easily and

quickly,’ said Matica.

‘Yeah. Tamo should look for a higher place for their next egg, but

I think the bad part of the climb is still to come – for Talon, anyway.’

After half an hour of steadily climbing, the path became steeper

and narrower the higher they went. For Talon with his short legs, it

became very difficult. At times, he had to walk sideways, letting his

tail hang over the edge and with his raised neck scraping along the

slope. One time he lost his footing, but he grabbed the grass on the

cliff with his beak and held on firmly until his feet found the ground

again. He grunted with effort. He really pushed himself to the limit.

When Crayn looked up, he could see there was still a long way to

  1. He didn’t think that Talon would make it, but after another half

hour, they were quite close to Tima who still sat on the ridge above

them. Just then, Tamo landed beside her and both of them encouraged

Talon to climb to them.

On the last part of the journey, Crayn and Matica crawled upwards

on their hands and feet then heaved themselves over the ridge. Standing

up, they watched Talon. He spread his wings to balance himself

then clawed his talons into the dirt of the vertical slope and, stepby-

step, with deep grunts, he climbed that last, difficult hurdle. He

strained his body to the utmost limit of his ability.

Accomplishing it, Talon fell onto the plateau, puffing badly. Tamo

and Tima nudged him then flew to the next plateau and screeched to

encourage him. They had a good view from there of whatever Talon

was about to do.

‘Dad, look at the view! Mum! Aikon!’ Matica yelled down. ‘You

should have come up! It’s breathtaking up here! Hey, Dad, what’s

that?’ Surprised, she pointed to a little valley they could just make

out between two high peaks. ‘No, it can’t be, but it looks as if it was an

old settlement of the Incas. Is that possible? Out here?’

‘Why not?’ said Crayn.

‘So, it is?’

‘Oh yeah, and we can visit it when you come with me to Cajamarca.

It’s nearly on the way.’

‘Really? That would be marvelous. I’d love that.’ She looked up at

Tamo and Tima. ‘You two always have that great, amazing view.’

‘Hmm, true,’ her father said, then looked at Talon. ‘He’d better

plunge down now; I don’t want to stay up here too long. How about

it, Talon?’

Amazon – Talon