The old man wrapped his well traveled blanket around his shoulders, and walked out into the cool crisp air of the mountains in northern Arizona. He awoke to a slight dusting of fresh snow. Cyrus was a tall man. He stood six foot five inches, and though an older man he was not diminished in the grace of being a man. He had long thick wavy hair that flowed well past his shoulders. Being a man of both the aina and the moana; the land and the open sea, his skin was beyond brown. His salt and pepper mane seemed to enhance the dignity of his years. The sun had blessed his skin with the many long days living and working half naked in Waipi’o valley; harvesting and replanting the taro his ancestors had carried across the sea and planted in this valley centuries ago.
Dwayne had left early for work.
Hot coffee awaited Cyrus. The old man decided after a light breakfast he would take his customary morning walk. It was here he was able to make some of his important decisions, and he made the opportunity to pray at that time as well. To be able to walk and not encounter another soul, was in Cyrus’ mind an intoxicating motivator.
Cyrus brought along some strips of raw venison for it had been his experience that the black eagle, like the answer to a prayer could come when he least expected it. In each instance it was his desire to respond appropriately to the things both given and received.
Dwayne took a few days of vacation to look after Cyrus, who had been feeling poorly for the last couple of days. Dwayne was feeling uneasy. He knew that Cyrus had always wanted to be cremated and have his ashes put at a place known only to Cyrus and Dwayne. But with the big reveal; aka Sonny Ray, those plans had to be altered. After Cyrus died, he wanted Dwayne, and hopefully Sonny Ray, to take him to a favorite location somewhere near Shiprock Peak in New Mexico. Dwayne offered to build a casket and take him there, but Cyrus insisted on being cremated. He would not elaborate, and Dwayne, out of respect for his old friend didn’t press. Dwayne had not seen the black eagle around for the last several days, and had asked Cyrus about it.
“I sent him on an errand,” Cyrus said with a furtive smile. Dwayne considered himself to be relatively educated, yet he never lost sight of the fact that there were things going on the universe that people could not explain away with a certainty. For example, for as long as Dwayne could remember, rarely did a day go by that an eagle, or hawk, or the tiniest of the falcons, would without fail, fly over, near, or around when Cyrus was in the vicinity. It didn’t matter where he might be.
It was as if they flew over him to observe him, or that they were seeing someone they had only heard of in their world, and just had to see him for themselves. They had no fear of Cyrus, and soon his son, Sonny Ray would begin to understand why this was so.