I thought I heard something behind me. I walk up to the edge of the forests and look around. I don't see anything except for a few animal tracks. I must have just imagined hearing something. I'm sure the falcon would have seen anything that moves. I go back down and sit by the waters edge. I stare out at the water and let the thrum of the waterfall wash over and relax me.
I look around the shore line and check out my surroundings. At one end of the pool is the waterfall dropping over the edge of a high curtain wall of rock. On the opposite end, the river continues on and is instantly swallowed up by the forest. The trees at that end crowd right up to the rivers edge, their branches intertwining over the water. Across from me the water transitions quickly into rock and then trees. On my side there is a short stretch of sand which gradually rises out of the water then turns into forest.
Something catches my eye at the end of the beach where the river leaves the pool. I get up and go see what it is. I find a paddle caught amidst some driftwood. I bring it back to my camp site and decide to check over the canoe. Except for a few scratches the hull and keel look sound. I turn it over and inspect the interior. Everything looks in remarkably good condition for having come over the waterfall. Under the seat at the stern I find a small inscription of a name, Alesia. I wonder if the name has anything to do with me, perhaps someone who knows me. I place the paddle in the bottom of the canoe and drag the boat further out of the water.
I remember seeing fish when I went swimming and decide I should help gathering food. I go up to the tree line and find a strong straight sapling. I start cutting it down with my knife and then break it off. After stripping away any branches I split one end into four points using my knife and a rock to hammer the knife down about a foot. Next I tear off a strip from the bottom of my tunic and lash it around the base of the split. I then drive a couple of twigs into the splits in order to drive the points apart and secure them with the remainder of the cloth strip. Now to try it out.
I position myself in the shallows where the river enters the forest and wait. My first attempts don't work out so well, the fish are never where they appear to be. I try again with the spear tips just below the surface. Finally I catch something but have no more luck after that. I create a semi circle of rocks in the water, leaving one end open and having the other end loop just inside the start of the circle. I'll see if this makeshift trap will catch anything the next time I go fishing. I clean out the fish I did catch and roast it over a fire.
The falcon is sitting on the gunwale at the prow of the boat. "Would you like some?" I ask as I offer her a piece of fish. She just sits there and stares back at me with her solid black eyes. "I guess your not hungry right now." She starts to preen her soft, speckled white underbelly. Her head and back are a charcoal blue color. It is interesting, from below she would blend in with the clouds and from above she would blend in with the dark ground. I brush my fingers along the side of her neck and murmur softly. She looks up at me and our eyes connect again, this time I am filled with a rush of emotions. There is an image of a younger me cresting a hill connected to a feeling of unease and excitement. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back and a twinge of hunger.
The connection fades and I remember the time when we first met and I purchased her. My Kestrel had died and my father believed I was ready for a full sized falcon. He had given me some silver and sent me over the hill to buy one. The breeder had a hack a little ways from our village. When I arrived he offered me a brown, that was hooded and perched on his glove. I saw the grey sitting on the top of the mews and just knew she was the one I wanted. "Are you sure?" the breeder asked "she's a bit small."
"Oh yes, I'm sure" I said "she has not stopped watching me since I arrived. I believe she has spirit."
"Okay" he said "don't forget she will still have to be manned. Come back tomorrow and I will have her hooded and jessed. What will you call her?"
"Arwen." We haggled the price a bit, then I gave him the silver. As I was leaving I heard the grey call and I return to the present.
"So Arwen, we are indeed old friends" I say to the falcon sitting on the boat. She drops her head and calls softly as if in response. She returns to preening and I return to sit by the fire. Another piece of the puzzle has returned to my memory. I know who the bird is but I still don't know who I am.