In the previous post Sunrise saw her best friend’s little brother fall into the ragging waters of their river! She had dove in to save him but now they are caught in the current. Sunrise is trying with all her might to pull them back to shore! But . . . can she do it?
I clung to the rope and slowly pulled myself forward. The water roared around us and tried to rip the rope away. In the tension of the moment I didn’t feel it when strong, powerful hands grabbed onto the other end of the rope and began to pull us towards the shore! All I felt was the burning in my hands as I tried to hold on and move forward.
My lungs screamed for air! And just as I thought I would run out of breath my head popped above the water! I gasped for breath and hand over hand I pulled us forward. My feet struggled to get footing on the slimy bank! I kept going and suddenly I got traction. Then I was standing. And the next thing I knew both Squirrel and I were in the arms of my Father. And he was dragging us out of the water to safety!
I was to stunned to speak but I did feel Father whapping on my back and abruptly I chocked and spit up water! At once I could see again and I didn’t feel so dazed. I saw Squirrel with Strong Wolf. He was coughing but soon he sat up and looked around. He was safe.
“Sunrise.” Dad exclaimed, smiling at me.
“You’re ok!” Wild Flower exclaimed!
“Yes.” I whispered.
My Father pulled me into a hug. When he let me go his eyes held a mixture of joy and love for me. But I also saw a twinkle I did not recognize for I had never seen it before.
My Father helped me stand up and then Strong Wolf helped Squirrel up. I hugged Squirrel tightly and breathed a huge sigh of relief! I looked out over the river and saw the rope I’d used. It was still tied to the tree but the current was pulling hard at it. Dad went over to get it and without warning my knees felt weak!
I collapsed on the ground and looked up at where Wild Flower was hugging Squirrel tightly.
“Wheee.” I breathed. As the first shock of fear for Squirrel began to leave, I perceived what danger I’d put myself in.
Strong Wolf walked over and plopped down beside me.
“Good thinking.” He stated.
“Thank you.” I flushed, pleased.
“You did destroy our ropes though.” He teased, as always.
“Yes, but I saved your brother’s life.” I noted.
“Yes.” He was immediately serious.
“You were so brave!” Squirrel exclaimed. Wild Flower was holding him but he was looking at me like I was a mighty hero!
I looked over at his big, brown eyes and wanted to encourage him like all my heroes encouraged me. And I knew how.
“You were just as brave as me! You had the courage to jump of that rock and swim to me! If you hadn’t I’d have never got you!” He grinned when I said that.
“You were both very brave! I’m so thankful you are safe!” Wild Flower exclaimed from behind us. She was still holding Squirrel tightly and I knew how frightened she must have been.
“Wild Flower.” I stood and hugged her, “You would do the same for me or my sisters.”
She nodded and hugged me back, “I’m just glad your both ok!”
I just shivered and tried not to think about what had just happened. I had never been heroic, so how was it I had dove so unafraid into that mighty current? I didn’t know and like all my questions I wondered if I would find out.
“That was an adventure!” I decided cheerily as Wild Flower and I headed to the village later that day.
“You would call it that!” She laughed.
“Yes, I would for it was an adventure!” I exclaimed.
I smiled at the little flowers peeping their heads up around the trail. The breeze wafted in around us and teased my hair. My swim in the river had greatly cooled me of after the long, hot morning and the wind felt good! We reached the village and I smiled at the children dashing about happily. Everyone was busy getting ready for the families that were coming.
Wild Flower and I were going in to help the women set up a lodge. They had the poles up but we needed to tie all the tool mats onto the lodge. To our dismay we found it was windy and hot in the village. But despite the weather the job still needed done! So we had to work half the afternoon in the sun while the sand and dirt stung our eyes cruelly!
By the time we were done my hands were dry, and my arms and back were exhausted, and I was achy all over. But we weren’t done yet. With the families arriving that night we had much to do.
We cleaned up and spent the rest of the afternoon bringing in wood, building fires, making food, setting the inside of the lodge up, and preparing for our arriving friends! The afternoon sun was low in the sky when finally I hobbled over to a tree and collapsed beside it.
The air was no cooler even in the shade but I was just glad to sit down.
Is this worth it? I wondered. All our work is so hard, why do we it!
I heard a sound and looked up. There was a little bird, a Sparrow. He was hoping around on the ground. The green grass sheltered him and his brown wings shone in the sun. Behind him a big, blue sky opened giant wings to enfold the scenery, it was amazing!
“Birds.” I said out loud, “They’re so beautiful!” The Sparrow hopped closer to me “And so adventurous too!” I smiled at him. Birds always seemed happy. What did they do different than me? They had to work too.
“Birds are peaceful.” I decided.
“And they are hard working too.” My Grandmother’s voice behind me startled me!
I turned and looked at her.
She smiled as she sat down beside me
“Just like you have been today.” She grinned at me again. “Your Father is beginning horse training but he says you may skip it tonight. He will understand for he knows you’ve been working hard all day.”
I nodded slowly.
“You know I think I know why your mother named you Sunrise.” Grandma noted. “You are always up and ready to shine, which is a wonderful way to be. But, remember, even the sun needs its rest.”
I laughed and nodded. She was right.
“But whatever you do, go and wash up first. It’ll make you feel better!”
“Alright.” I answered as she stood up to go.
I reached the river and bent down to wash my hands, arms, and face. Grandma was right, it did make me feel much better! I gazed out over the peaceful river and thought of the earlier adventure of the day. And what a day it had been! I considered my peaceful river walk that morning and thought of my wild river adventure that afternoon. And that was when I realized it had been a very big day!
I was tired. But at once I remembered what my Father had told me when I first got my horse. He had stated,
“You have to show up, every day, to train him. It proves to him and you that you’re committed and helps him stay committed to working hard too.”
I nodded as I remembered the words. And I thought of my Dad guarding at night, fishing all day, and still working with his horse. I thought of my Grandma. Everyday she was getting up and teaching us though as she grew older it was harder and harder.
I will rest. I thought. Yes, everyone needs rest. But we rest after we get our work done!
With that I stood and headed to the pasture.
Wind, my horse answered me when I whistled. He came galloping up. His mane was dancing with the whispering winds, his red coat glistened in the evening sun and his white speckles sparkled! He whinnied when he saw me and gave and extra, joyous jump.
I laughed and patted him, telling him what a good horse he was! We worked hard till it was almost sunset. Dad and I, as well as several other people from the tribe, worked our own horses to keep their skills sharp. Then we worked with other horses too.
When, at last, we were done, I didn’t think I could even walk back to camp! I was covered in dust, my face and hands were dirt dry, almost all of me ached. Yet despite it all, I felt good!
As we finished and the others left, Father walked over to where I was rubbing Wind.
“Hi Dad.” I smiled.
“Sunrise.” He smiled down at me.
“Oh, I’m tired.” I sighed.
“I know.” Dad looked at me again with the new twinkle in his eyes.
“You’ve been working hard all day.” He told me, “Sunrise, I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your quick thinking to save Squirrel and your hard work to prepare for the arriving tribes.” He smiled again.
“You’ve worked like a woman today. You’re not a little girl anymore. You’re my imaginative, adventurous, hardworking Sunrise. You’re my little Dreamer. You see a beauty that most people miss. Don’t ever stop seeing life the way you do.”
I nodded and beamed up at Dad. My heart was full and I could feel my eyes beginning to glisten.
“Thank you, Dad.” I whispered. “I won’t stop seeing life like I do.”
He smiled and hugged me. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” I answered.
For the second time that day I felt like a hero and instantly I knew why. The heroes I loved to hear about and imagine worked hard. They faced trouble but didn’t stop. They reacted in the right way. I grinned as I watched Dad head towards the village. His words echoed in my mind. “Never stop seeing life the way you do.”
At once I knew why I had been so unafraid to dive in and save Squirrel, he had needed help. I hadn’t focused on the danger, I’d focused on what I could do and so I’d saved him. I’d seen the good idea.
That made me think of the light blue dream catcher in our tepee. The web was to catch the bad dreams and let only the good in through the hole. And if I was focusing on the beauty and the goodness of life then my mind would be that way too! I could catch the bad thoughts and only let the good in!
And perhaps that was what Dad meant. He was reminding me to always see the good in life. In fact, I was sure that was what he had meant. I turned, still thinking, and gently led Wind to get a drink.
As we reached the rivers edge, I heard a cry.
“They are here!”
I turned and saw a stream of horses and people on the hills above the camp. Our relatives had come! At once jittery excitement plunged over me! I pictured us in the lodge, warm and cozy. The elders would be telling stores and keeping us tense with tales of danger and adventure. The younger ones would be telling jokes and making us laugh! We would have horse races, play games, and trade for all sorts of new articles!
Yes, there would be work. Actually more work than normal! We had to fish, make extra food, gather berries, work horses, and many more things. But every evening we would gather to relax and be with family!
I smiled at the idea. It was worth it after all.
Maybe that’s the beauty in life. I reasoned. Each day has it’s own adventures. And adventures are hard work but they are worth it! In the end you feel better because you did something amazing!
Wind tossed his head. He was done drinking and ready to go back to the pasture. I patted him and let him go. Then I headed to the village to cleanup and greet my family.
And that was when I saw the sun. It was setting over the brilliant, green hills casting color in every direction. The darkness of night would soon enfold us but first the sun had one, last masterpiece to display!
The wind whistled, awed by the beauty it saw. The leaves of the plants rustled as though they were clapping for the final bit of light. The horses were calmly eating, the birds were nesting down for the night, and the river, near the pasture, was as calm as the silver stars reflecting on it. The world was beautiful, and even more so after my work filled day.
And I smiled for I knew something. “Even the sun needs rest,” I whispered, “yet as it leaves it sends color all over the sky to remind us that work truly is worth it!”
And I headed home, my heart full of joy.
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