''Innocence dwells with Wisdom, but never with Ignorance.'
- William Blake -
Extract from Chapter 7. Mañana
At the time the young eaglet was falling from his nest, we come to meet Manaña, daughter of Habby and student of Pierre. Blessed with green eyes, a sign that she has been touched by the earth mother, Manana has also inherited the power of healing, but as yet is unaware of the full potential she posses.
As she resumed her journey along the goat track, her eyes once more searching and probing the surrounding landscape for anything that may be useful. Once again she was brought to a sudden stop, this time the distraction was coming from above her as she heard the piercing cry of a bird. All her instincts told her there was anguish and pain in that cry as she looked up, trying to locate its source. She spotted the Great Eagle immediately., high above the Silbido. The raptor was flying in lazy circles and occasionally crying out a piercing shriek. Mañana stood entranced and rooted to the spot simply staring up at the giant bird. Even from the distance, it looked a huge and magnificent creature, she thought
As she continued watching, the Eagle suddenly plunged down, letting out another sharp screeching cry and then just as suddenly it broke its dive and glided back up. She watched as the Eagle repeated this manoeuvre a few times in different places and began to feel a little confused.
Although quite young, she had seen her fair share of raptors and had even seen a Great Eagle on a previous trip to the valley but never before had she seen a bird acting in such a strange manner. What is it doing she wondered? Then suddenly the answer came to her: 'It’s searching for something!' Mañana said to herself loudly. It was if the bird understood what Mañana had said, for it started circling ever closer to where Mañana stood watching. In almost no time, the bird was flying directly above her and Mañana had to stretch her neck to keep it in full view.
As she looked directly up at the creature, their eyes made direct contact for a split second. Was it just their eyes that had made contact, Mañana wondered?
She did not really know, but she felt a cold spasm of fear flow through her, for there had been anger and hate in those eyes; and also she thought, there was also a great sadness.
Mañana was well aware of the reputation these birds commanded. Their strength and ferocity were well known throughout the land. It was rumoured that they could, and they had in the past, killed fully grown men without too much effort. She had never heard that they hunted and killed humans for food, but the older inhabitants of the valley said that many years ago when the valley held more birds, they had often heard stories about young children disappearing. There was even a farmer who had claimed he had found the bones of a child below the nest of one these birds.
Like the rest of her people, Mañana did not really believe these tales or stories and put it down to the natural hatred that all the farmers in this region had for the Eagles. Seconds later, the eagle had flown away, closer to the walls of the pass. it still looked as if it was hunting for something, but it seemed to have decided there was no more to be seen where it was and the human was no longer of interest to it.
'What a magnificent creature' she said out loud to herself.
The fear Mañana had originally felt inside her started to dissipate as she watched the bird make its way back to the high mountain ridges. Shaking her head in amazement, she thanked God that he had created such beautiful and graceful animals. Then as an afterthought, she wondered why he had also made it so difficult for everything to get along with each other.
Shaking those thoughts out of her mind as she watched as the Eagle grow smaller in the distance, she turned her eyes away from the eagle and once more continued on her way.
Continuing her stroll along the trail, she arrived thirty minutes at a large pond surrounded by an abundance of plant life and decided that this would be the best place to start collecting her plants. First, she needed a drink, so kneeling down, she cupped her hands and scooped some water up to drink and splashed the surplus over her face. The iciness of the water made her shudder and she immediately lifted her face towards the sun to allow its weak rays dry her skin. As she looked to the sun, she realised by its position that it was getting late, and there could not be that many hours of daylight left. Surprised that it had taken her so long to walk only this short distance from the camp, she decided that now she should concentrate on collecting herbs and nothing else.
In a few hours, the sun would start to sink behind the mountains and twilight would cover the valley, making her walk home a lot more hazardous. She would spend one more hour looking for herbs, then she would head home she told herself.