The Radiant Flight

5 min
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Legend has it that the weary sun brings about the longest night, and at such a time the Radiant Bird shall rise to rejuvenate the sun, delivering a yearlong blessing. In a small town surrounded by a dense forest alongside the tall mountains the elders celebrate this legend. Every year during the winter solstice on the longest night of the year the Ceremony of The Radiant Bird commences, and the youth must endure it. Only the most courageous of the youth can earn the right to become the Radiant Bird. An honor often never accomplished as for many years no youth has taken flight, a depression found upon the community.
In this small town there lives a young boy with his father. A timid youth who enjoys the comforts of fantasy. His father often dreaming of a time when the young boy will awaken his full potential. In early December as the small town prepares for the ceremony the young boy can be found in the back of the classroom reading quietly to himself. As the young girl holds all the attention of her peers. She is the shining star full of talent, enthusiasm, and courage.
Declaring in a confident tone, “I see the town from atop the sky,” the young girl says.
“And to my back the warmth of the sun, as I become the Radiant Bird!” she exclaims.
All the children reveling in her certainty She notices amidst the cheers, that the only one not to be captivated is the young boy.
“Hey you,” her finger pointing, “you think you can keep up with me or something?” she asks the young boy with a sassy voice.
“I’m sorry, I don’t like to fly,” replied the young boy in a reserved voice.
The young girl smirking, and the crowd of children laughing and hollering at his response, it is well known that the young boy is not courageous. By the end of the school day his reputation sinks to lower depths. Back home the young boy sits down to eat with his father.
“Son, you know the ceremony is just around the corner,” said the father putting down his utensils, “and I don’t want to pressure you into it but...”
The father continued, “It would make me very proud if you could at least give it a try.”
The young boy feeling overwhelmed said, “I’ll have to think it over...I’ve had a long day, I’m going to my room now.”
Quickly rushing off to his room, the only place the young boy could find solace. In his books, among the tales of fantasy which bring to life his imagination, he begins to read. Tonight, like many nights he would stay up reading only until he was too tired to continue, and collapse from his weariness. But unlike other nights, tonight, in a deep slumber he would dream a vivid dream of the unknown things inside of him.
In the dream, the young boy finds himself in an old attic, decrepit and quiet. Only the still dust floating in the glimmering light of the sun — through the small window atop the slanted roof — gave motion to the calmness. As he wandered around the small cluttered room he found sheets of poems scattered throughout. But when he tried to read them out loud his voice was lost in the stillness. Until from the shadows of the only hallway came drifting a radiant poem, full of magical words. When he read them out lout his voice was found and deeply did it resonate. He knew then, that he was not alone and so he awoke.
With only one week left until the ceremony, the young boy’s classmates decided to vote who is most likely to become the next Radiant Bird. To no one’s surprise the young girl was voted most likely to succeed. And to the same extent they joke about how the young boy is least likely to succeed.
Later on, at home, the father sat the young boy down to talk.
“Last night, I had a dream. A strong and intense one.”
“I saw you flying high in the sky, looking down on the town, with the sun in tow!” Exclaimed the father in high hopes.
“I know you can do this, I believe in you!” exclaimed the father.
The young boy starting to believe, smiled and went to his room excited to read.
That night while the young boy was in a deep slumber he returned to the old attic. This time looking for the radiant poems himself, but to no avail. Only the dark hallway remained unexplored stood in front of it. Gazing long into its depths. Taking a deep breath, he stepped firmly into the darkness and there he found the glimmers of light. Emerging at first as fireflies in the darkness, swirling around him as though caught in a dance. They began to grow, and transforms, and become like sheets of poems caught in the wind swirling ever faster and faster into a single point. Eventually becoming one and transmuting into a radiant book, heavy with arcane wisdom. As he slowly opened the magical book, it’s light took hold of the unknown, the darkness now forever purged. The young boy awoke and was no longer confused, he could see the thread of light guiding him to the top.
The longest night of the year had arrived and with it the Ceremony of The Radiant Bird. On the outskirts of the town near the dark forest, a large clear field is decorated with brimming lights, and in the center a large stage with many drums and air horns. Here the official elders direct everyone, and initiate the ceremony, while the youth gathers. Through the dark forest they must make their way, and through the steep mountains they must climb to the top, there they will find their wings and finally become the Radiant Bird.
Without any words the young boy looked his father in the eyes, and nodded with confidence. The father already proud hugged the young boy. He could tell his son found his confidence.
As the drums began to rumble and the children lined up, one of the official elders spoke up.
“Ye youth who have gathered to find your wings, may our songs inspire you and the wind propel you!”
“Go and raise the sun from it’s slumber!” ordered the elder as the horns sounded and the crowd cheered!
Most of the children ran into the forest where it was brightest and the trail was clearest. But the young boy ran head first into the darkest part of the forest, where no trail had ever been formed. Since he had already faced the greatest darkness within himself, the darkness of the forest was trivial. Almost as if guided by the radiant book from his dream, the words glowed in the darkness and marked his path. Once beyond the forest he noticed that no one else had made it this far. Yet he still faced the treacherous mountain with its steep and intimidating faces, but the young boy marched on.
As the night continued many of the adults, and elders began to mummer to one another. The anxiety from the past was evident in their tone.
The young boy quickly climbed to the top of the mountain. Where there was a hang glider like aircraft setup to function as his wings. He walked near the edge of the mountain and in the fading darkness of the night he could see the glowing of the festival lights, and the center stage where the horns would sound from. A view that he could have never imagined before.
As the light of the sun started to break the darkness, the community began to panic and some even wept for another year of misfortune was upon them. Yet from over the mountain peak there emerged a single small bird, as some gasped and held their breath.
“There look!”
“Above the mountain!”
The Radiant Bird had rejuvenated the sun and with it — its rays — illuminating over the mountain peak. A yearlong blessing had arrived, and after many years of misfortune the community could finally find happiness. Radiating ever brighter with the rising sun, the young boy could see the town below him clearly. Flying in the air, he’d never felt the air blow through his hair. The fantasy of his books paled in comparison to the thrill of his courage. The young girl had seen the young boy take off, and she smiled to herself and thought.
“So, in the end I couldn’t even keep up with him.”
The father crying tears of joy, as his hopes came true and in the sky his dreams relived. The young boy had found his wings on this radiant flight.

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