“Dad, it doesn’t even smell bad in here,” he said looking up at his father. As the large glass doors opened before him a cool breeze rushed through his short blonde hair. It took over three years to get here, but finally, his eyes embrace the shrine built by his ancestors celebrating the saviors of his people.
Since his birth, stories of these ancient animals echo around nightly fires before spending another dream-filled night below the stars. He is the first generation not to experience the animals in flesh, but the ethos of his people meant that this adventure is not to be taken lightly.
With eyes-wide and his father’s help, he mounted the mystical creature thankful it wasn’t the real thing. His father secures his harness and reminds him that he is not on his own and he just needs to call if he gets too afraid. But fear is far from his mind. He is experiencing the ethos that before has only been words, but now it is real.
His father started cranking on the lever making the whole contraption move. Slowly he begins to pick up speed. While slightly nervous as it starts up, the butterflies quickly settle down as he begins to embrace the experience and closes his eyes.
Ethos: The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations
Just as he shuts out the last ray of light, his imagination explodes. Suddenly he is no longer inside the shrine’s concrete walls, but is now flying through fields of wheat as if on a ship cutting through grain waters. The terrain is smooth and moving fast below his feet. Even though he is only a passenger, he feels the passion and determination in his friend as he carries him faster through the fields.
As a storm approaching, he can see the battle raging ahead and why they are moving so fast. His people were in trouble. Flashing lights, deafening sounds, and multiple close calls all confuse him. Why is he here and why is everyone around him falling to the ground? He feels fear creep into his mind conquering his freedom and adventure.
He clenches tight to the his friend’s mane and nuzzles into its neck. The sounds of the battle begin to fade away and so does his fear. Still too unsure to open his eyes he continues to keep them closed and his face nuzzled. As if giving him a nudge of bravery, his friend encourages him with a swift motion of the neck that all is now safe.
He opens his eyes to find himself no longer alone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of his ancestors surround him. Some of sit proud upon their friend while others appear to be unconscious as they lay over the back of their friend like a lifeless blanket. Everywhere he looks he can see his people riding to safety from the storms. Now he understands. The ethos of his people didn’t come from his father’s imagination, but the stories around the fire are true.
The shrine begins to slow and he comes back to reality. After it stops, his father confidently walks toward him to help him down. No longer does he see a man struggling to feed his family and keep them safe, but a warrior who once protected the ethos of his people and now he knows who he is to become.
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