This story begins with a bright white dot falling through the pale blue sky. It grows and grows as it gets closer to the ground.
Down and down it comes.
Closer, and closer to the ground.
Anyone standing nearby might guess it's a bird. Perhaps an owl. Except, it is now daylight and owls prefer the night.
Could it be a piece of the moon, broken away? But it isn't. Or a flying saucer? No.
It is a very beautiful angel. Just a child. What a surprise. Here? An angel?
Her name is Esther. And she is lost.
She lands on the highest part of a poplar tree. One wing is bent back, stuck between two large branches. If only someone hurried by, she could continue her journey.
"Help me," came out as a cry of pain. It echoed across the valley. Everywhere she looked, trees rose and fell across hilly ridges.
"HEEELLLLP MEEEEE!!" was the answering cry of an echo. It seemed to mock her pain.
At first it appeared no one was around. But there was.
From the pond below, burping sounds rose in the stillness. Froggy mouths gulped in wonder. Who was this stranger in their midst?
This creature was different from anyone they ever saw. It looked like a human with wings. Was it human or bird?
They had watched that tumbling from the sky until tall branches stopped the falling.
"What can we do?" asked the frogs. Their little eyes and noses could barely be seen amongst the lily pads.
"Anything," the angel's voice answered. "Climb up if you can and help me get loose."
"We can't climb trees," croaky voices answered.
A hawk rested on his perch. He had actually thought about giving chase to this strange visitor. Dinner was overdue. Should he help?
The angel twisted high above. One branch broke suddenly and she dropped to a lower resting place.
Nothing broken. Yet.
Esther was on a mission. How did she get so mixed up? she wondered. She had followed her directions carefully. Around the moon to the earth below.
Then, left at Newfoundland and land beside Cobequid Bay. She was supposed to end up in the center of Nova Scotia. Somehow she had missed her landing zone.
"Is there anyone else around," she whispered.
A short distance from the edge of the pond, some mallard ducks waggled through the lily pads. They had been busy feeding on vegetation and insects.
"Quack! Quack!" they called to the stranger. "Are you in trouble?" the oldest one asked.
"Yes, please help me," the angel's voice pleaded.
"Let me try," the youngest duck called out. His feet paddled across the water and launched into space. But the best he could do was get a closer look at the problem.
His wings brushed against several limbs and Esther fell two branches lower.
The commotion startled a bushy red squirrel who scampered around the trunk. He didn't know what else to do. He even hung upside down to get a better view.
A sweet smiling face looked down.
"It's a little child!" bushy red chattered, as he looked up. "With red cheeks. And wings like a bird!"
An eagle high above flew lower to help. But his wings were too wide to get close.
A young cygnet swam into view. He wasn't very big. But he was brave and had a kind heart. He twisted his tiny neck and peered upward through the trembling leaves.
"Are you scared?" His words drifted slowly upwards. "I think I can help you," he added confidently.
"How?" the angel answered back.
"Just let go of the branches."
"Let go?" Esther answered fearfully. "But I'll fall."
"I'll catch you," he said.
"But you're so little. How?"
"Just let go of the branch. And land on my back," he answered.
"Are you sure it will work?" the angel asked.
"Have faith," he said.
And the angel did have faith. After all, she was an angel.
Esther let go of the branch and dropped once again. This time she scooted in a straight line through leaves and branches. It was as if a perfect trail had prepared the way.
Down and down she went. Past the watchful eye of the hawk. Falling from the sight of the eagle.
Even past bushy red.
Esther had a perfect landing right on top of a feathery back. The shock scared a raccoon hanging from a nearby limb. He ran up the tree.
"Thanks and more thanks," were words barely heard above the angel's thumping heart. She flapped her wings slowly, back and forth. Then flew around a little, testing.
Good. Everything was okay.
Her rescuer's eyes grew large at the beautiful sight before him. Now there was a glow around the angel. And she turned bright as the morning sun.
It brought comforting warmth to his young feathers.
"I wish I could be beautiful like you," the cygnet said.
"You will," answered the angel. "One day every creature in the forest will stare at your beauty."
"Oh sure," the cygnet said. "Compared to all those colorful ducks, I sure look ugly."
The angel smiled as she flapped her wings. Her reddish cheeks were full of understanding.
She headed off to her new assignment. But, not before he heard her soft voice call back, "Have faith."
And the little cygnet did grow into one of the most beautiful swans in the forest.
* * *
2009 Richard & Esther Provencher
All Rights Reserved
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: email@example.com re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.
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