On most days not much happened in the space below the falls. But now it was spring there was movement but you had to look ever so closely to see it.
Amongst the rocks that nature had strewn at the base of the falls a small man with pointed features peered out scanning all around him. He was being super vigilant for even though it was his time to be out and about it was also a time when the owls looked down from the trees for any movement that spelt food for them.
The Rock Folk were always wary of owls. They often pounced without warning and when they did there was little to be done as the owls rarely missed their target.
This morning Olern Kirksop was on the lookout as the forward guard of the Rock Folk. It was on this day that the Rock Folk would come to the pool below the falls and wash and bathe in preparation for the coming springtime.
The Rock Folk treated this as a sacred day.
It marked the end of the winter hibernation and the awaking of the season of plenty.
After this day the Rock Folk were committed to the season whereby fields were planted, hunting parties organised and preparations for the end of season celebrations begun to be planned.
Olern Kirksop sat very still. He was attuned to the universe. He could detect an owl a mile away and at this very moment there was no sign of one of the predators.
The Rock Folk had developed an inner radar that picked up the wing movements of the owls and often were warned well in advance of any arriving. What they couldn’t predict was the owl already in the trees above the falls.
Olern gave out a low whistle and from behind every rock the Rock Folk appeared. They scurried quickly to the pool carrying their clothes and newborn babies to scrub and cleanse themselves of the winter grit and grim that accumulated on their sleeping bodies.
It was a period of danger too as their combined number created a noise they knew the owls would pick up on.
But so far all was good, the cleansing was going to plan when suddenly there was a swoosh and before Olern could utter a single sound the owl struck from the tree above.
It came in a flash its talons ready to snatch and snatch it did. Olerns best friend of fifty years Plern Kirksop was suddenly gone. It happened so quickly most rock folk were oblivious to the attack.
Olern Kirksop looked up in time to see his struggling friend disappear over the falls. He uttered a warning whistle and there was a flurry of activity as the rock folk grabbed their belongings and their children and made a hurried exit from the pool.
Suddenly the pool and the falls were as they had been. The gentle fall of the water into the pool masked the collective sorrow of the rock folk as they mourned the lose of one of their own.
Olern Kirksop knew that there was nothing he could have done as attacks such as had happened that morning could not be avoided.
He slipped back among his people and sat silently his thoughts with his lost friend.