The squeal of the bus brakes and the gentle stop, snapped her out of her slumber.
“Here we are Tess” Sam called out. “The Mountain Museum. How long will you two need today?”
“Give us an hour or so, Sam” Tess said as she and Kyra stepped out the bus door. “We will be sure to be on time today. I promise.”
Side by side Tess and Kyra made their way down the stone path to the museum courtyard. Not a word was spoken. They both knew where they were going.
Other people stopped and admired the tall pine trees lining the walkway. Families posed for pictures in front of the most beautiful ones. Children pointed and scampered from place to place. All these activities went unnoticed by Tess.
Slowing in the courtyard, Tess walked to the water garden. She sat on the pond’s wall and reached for the shimmering water. As it tumbled and splashed around rocks, the cold fluid danced over her hand. The gurgling sound of the waterfall always relaxed her. This was her favorite place to forget her troubles and enjoy God’s creation.
Turning her face to the sun she closed her eyes and let its radiant warmth sink into her skin. The contrast of the cool breeze and warm sun tickled her senses. She inhaled deeply, the fresh pine scent cleansing and clearing her mind.
“Enough lollygagging here, Kyra” Tess said. “Let’s keep going.”
Through the lobby doors they entered a large room with many beautiful paintings. Breathtaking sunrise and sunset scenes, captured forever in oil on canvas, lined the white walls. Awe and respect etched the faces of the tourists as they gazed on the mountain scenes. But Tess kept walking, ignoring the majestic portrayals that surrounded her.
She and Kyra continued their trek down a narrow hall finally reaching a closed door.
Tess knocked timidly. “Tristen, Tristen are you there?”
The door swung open. “Tess! I didn’t expect you today. Welcome back. Couldn’t stay away could ya?” he said smiling.
“No, no I couldn’t. I…I was wondering if I could study the animal displays today?”
“Sure you can Tess. They don’t go on public display ‘till next week. Follow me.”
As Tristen led the way down the hall, Tess and Kyra closely followed him to another door. Taking out his keys he struggled to turn the lock. “Got to fix this thing one of these days” he said as the bolt finally gave in to his coaxing. Opening the door he stepped aside to let the two pass by him.
“Do you know how to find the displays?” Tristen asked.
“Yes”, Tess replied, “I know right where they are. Thank you for all your help.”
“Have fun Tess. Let me know when you leave.”
With that, she and Kyra wound their way through the prep room. Tess found what she came here for. There, sitting on a tree branch sat an eagle, wings extended as if ready to fly.
Tess’ hand shook as she touched its soft feathers.
“How did you die Eagle? What brought you to this place?”
She let her fingers follow the lines and curves of its body. The feathers on its head were smooth and silky. So different than it’s dangerous curved beak. Her hands traced the length of its seven-foot wingspan, the large wing feathers spread, as if fingers ready to grab the air. Working her way behind the bird, she was amazed at the musculature of its body. Absorbing every detail of the bird, Tess continued her exploration and study of her subject. Her hands drifted down its powerful legs, finally ending with its sharp talons.
“I can see why you strike fear into small animals that see you” Tess whispered.
Tears moistened her eyes.
“I just wish…”
Sighing, Tess flipped the crystal of her watch opened and touched its face with her fingers.
“It’s about time to go Kyra. Don’t want to keep Sam waiting again today. Come on girl. Lead me to the bus.”
Picking up Kyra’s harness, they started their journey back.
“Kyra”, Tess said, “I look forward to the day God lets me see His creation with my eyes instead of my hands. But until that day, I’m blessed to have you.”
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