A hawk listens from his perch. He thought about chasing this falling visitor before she landed in the tree. Too late, now his dinner is overdue.
The angel twisted around. One branch gave way. And Esther dropped to a lower resting place. Nothing broken. Yet. She had been so careful to follow her plan. Around the moon, left at Newfoundland, then land beside Cobequid Bay near Truro, Nova Scotia.
She was supposed to go to a nearby pasture, not on top of the highest tree in the forest. "Is anyone else around?" she whispered.
Three mallard ducks were busy feeding on vegetation and insects. "Quack! Quack!" they shouted. "Are you in trouble?"
"Yes, please help me," the angel pleaded from above.
“Not me,” said the largest duck. “Those branches might ruin my colorful feathers.” The others agreed. “I might get stuck myself,” another said.
"Let me try," said one small duck. He paddled furiously across the water then leaped into space. He was able to get a closer look at the problem. As his wings brushed against several limbs, Esther fell two branches lower. Unable to help, he quickly returned to the pond below.
The noise alarmed a red squirrel that began scampering around his tree home. "It's a human child!" bushy red chattered. "With red cheeks and wings like a bird!"
An eagle flew lower to help. However, his six-foot wings were too wide.
A young Cygnet swam slowly into view. He wasn't very large and everyone knew he was an orphan. In fact, no one in the pond really understood what kind of bird or duck he was. Besides, he was so very plain looking.
Peering through trembling leaves, he said, "I think I can help you."
"How?" the angel answered fearfully.“
"Just let go of the branches," the Cygnet said.
"Let go?" Esther’s voice trembled. "But I'll fall, maybe hurt myself." She wrapped her wings tighter around a branch.
"I'll catch you," the Cygnet said.
"But you're so little," answered the angel.
"Let go of the branch, and land on my back," the Cygnet said. “I may be little, but I’m strong.”
"Are you sure it will work?" the angel asked timidly.
"Have faith," the young Cygnet replied.
And Esther did have faith. After all, she was an angel. Letting go of the branch, she dropped once more. Now she traveled down and down. She went in a straight line between leaves and branches. It was as if a perfect trail had been prepared.
She went flying past the watchful eye of the hawk. Past a nosey Crow, and disappeared from the sight of a sharp-eyed eagle. Esther made a perfect landing on top of a feathery back. The shock scared a raccoon leaning on a nearby limb. He quickly dropped to the ground.
"OOMPH!” and “THANKS!" were words barely heard above the angel's thumping heart. She flapped both wings slowly. Then back and forth until she rose into the air. She flew around carefully, testing every movement. Nothing broken, only a few feathers out of place.
The Cygnet’s eyes grew large at the beautiful sight before him. A glow surrounded the angel, her smile radiant as the morning sun. Wings expanded to full size, sending gusts of perfumed air in his direction.
"I wish I could be beautiful as you," the young Cygnet said.
"You will," the angel answered. "One day every creature in the forest will stare at your beauty."
"Oh sure," the Cygnet said. "Compared to all these ducks, I look awful."
The angel smiled knowingly as she flapped her wings. Her reddish cheeks were full of understanding. The little Cygnet heard the angel’s voice come like a mighty wind, before she disappeared into the sky.
"Have faith. One day, you will grow into the most beautiful bird in the forest,”
said Esther the angel. “They will call you, Swan.”
FOOTPRINTS, a close family novel about a father’s search for a son he never met can now be ordered from SynergEbooks. Richard & Esther Provencher are also co-authors of two other novels soon to be published at: www.synergebooks.com