“No, my grandson,” said the old man as he stood along the river shore.
“In the grass at the base of the red rock cliffs.”
“You must return it to the nest. Mother Osprey will be looking for it. The cliffs are high and dangerous, but you are young and strong. I have confidence in you.”
“I will try,” replied the boy somberly. “But first, Grandfather, tell me again of how these cliffs came to be?”
“200 million years ago in the Triassic Era, hot molten diabase boiled out of the earth. Its heat baked the shale and siltstone to an unusual hardness.
“See how the rocks tilt to the northwest? Over time tremendous pressure twisted the stone just so, and weathering has left them exposed for us to view from below.
“These palisades host an arctic-alpine plant community that is rare in this land, as well as more than 90 bird species, including peregrine falcons and the Ospreys who are even now looking for their egg.”
“If you lose courage, look to him; he will give you strength.”
Along the way, he marveled at the perseverance of the plants. Ferns, bushes and even trees seemed found no difficulty in rooting themselves in face of the stone. “I shall be as tenacious as these trees,” he said to himself.
As he neared the top, the boy found the climbing difficult. So high up he was! He tried not to look down. Slowly he moved, clinging to the rocks, wedging his fingers and toes into any crack he could find. “I shall be as strong as these cliffs,” he thought to himself.
At last the boy reached the top. Gingerly he took the egg from his clothes; tenderly he placed it in the Osprey nest. Mother Osprey watched him intently, fierce emotion hidden behind her glittering golden eyes. “I shall be as fearless as this Osprey,” the boy thought to himself.