A couple of Beacon Scouts go out bird watching and encounter a few problems.
| It was a cool, crisp fall day. The weather in this area was often volatile, but today the sky was clear of any storm clouds, instead there were just a few white puffy clouds. The leaves were beginning to change color, the wind blew the fallen leaves gently along, the remaining birds were chirping, and two ten year old girls were stumbling their way up a large hill.
They were both wearing dull yellow shirts and brown sashes that had various badges on them. One had on a skirt and very bright rainbow tights, beret, and had long braided brown hair. The other girl had one pants, a backpack, and a bucket hat, had short black hair, and was slightly thinner and shorter than her friend.
The girl with the beret turned to her friend and said, "Come on Coby, we've got to find that great blue heron!"
"Are you sure we should be this far out though," replied Coby, "I mean you remember what happened last time, right? Addie?"
"Please, that was one time! You're such a worry wort."
"I prefer-" Coby slipped a little, but managed to keep her balance, "I prefer cautious."
"Nervous Nelly," teased Addie. She made it to the top of the hill and offered her hand to Coby. Coby took it and Addie pulled her up. "Scaredy Cat."
The two girls looked out over the hill. From here could see for a fair distance, but mostly they saw the tops of the trees, the roofs of the town beyond, and some mountains in the far distance.
"See, isn't this a nice view?" asked Addie.
"It's a little, uh, high for me," replied Coby. She glanced over at the edges and gulped.
"It'll be fine. We'll definitely see that heron now, and earn our bird watching badges." She turned and smiled at Coby. "You're the one who's always saying it's the duty or whatever of the Beacon Scouts to learn about the world."
"Just let me know if you see the heron," said Coby, taking a small digital camera out of her backpack. Addie wandered over to the edge of one point of the hill and Coby headed over to the opposite side.
Coby sat down and laid back a little, supporting herself with her hands. She gazed up at the clouds and relaxed a little. It didn't feel so bad now that she was actually up here. It was a nice day with a mild breeze and she had a great view from here (as long as she didn't think about how high up they were). It was even calming-
"Over here!" Shouted Addie, "I see it! I see it!" Coby nearly tripped over herself trying to reach Addie. Once she made it, Addie pointed to a bird coming towards them. "There is! Get the...thing...shot!"
Coby fumbled with the camera, desperately trying to zoom in. "Almost got it..." The heron was coming closer and closer. Coby took some shots of it. "I think I got a nice shot...wait, don't bird usually, like go away from humans?" The two girls exchanged glances and then quickly hit the dirt.
The large blue bird sped over their heads, barely missing them. They had forgotten that the wildlife in this town was rarely afraid of humans. In fact it was often the other way around. Even snails had been known to try and stare down humans before. Apparently the heron had taken umbrage with the girls standing there. Or maybe it just didn't like paparazzi.
"Take some pictures!" commanded Addie as the bird flew overhead, just missing them. Coby obeyed and got several nice shots of the heron. Addie stood up and pulled Coby up with her. "Follow it!"
They ran after it, Coby taking pictures all the while. They finally stopped at the edge of the hill. Addie was laughing the mad kind of laugh someone high on adrenaline laughs.
"Once we show these to scout leader Steward, we'll earn our bird watching badges."
"I have to admit," said Coby, "You were-" She stopped as suddenly they heard a rumbling noise below them. They both glanced down and saw that the part of the hill they were standing on was about to give way, weakened by storms that plagued the region. They looked back up at each other and had time to let out little screams as the earth fell out from beneath them.
At the bottom of the hill was a boy in the same yellow shirt and brown sash with badges as the girls. He had on a baseball cap over his extremely short black hair. He was adjusting his glasses when he heard a noise above him and then felt a shoe hit him in the left shoulder. "What the-" He glanced up and saw Addie and Coby tumbling down the hill. He quickly leapt out of the way as the two girls crashed into some bushes behind where he had been standing. "Are you two alright?"
"He-hey Theo," said Addie dizzily, "We're al-alright. Right Coby?" Coby was clinging onto Addie and was shaking like one of the leaves above them. Addie stood up and managed to pry Coby off. Coby sat there still shaking.
"What were you even doing?" asked Theo.
"We were up there taking pictures of the great blue heron to earn our bird watching badge," explained Addie as she hopped over to her shoe, careful to keep her shoeless foot off the ground. "We got the best pictures of it! You probably didn't see it."
"Uh, actually I did," replied Theo, "Basically everyone was able to see it through the trees. It was flying really low. You didn't even need to climb up there."
"Oh. Uh..." mumbled Addie nervously. She let out a little giggle and glanced over at Coby. Coby had stopped shaking and was glaring at her. "Well at least you're working your way towards the photography badge?"
"...I already have that," said Coby dejectedly, her anger draining. She let out a long sigh. Addie had finished putting on and tying her shoe and made her way over to Coby. She offered her hand and Coby reluctantly accept her help up.
"At least it was an adventure to tell your grandkids or whatever," offered Addie.
"A story about how stupid you were?" asked Theo. He had already mastered the art of raising one eyebrow, which was quite impressive for a ten year old.
"Oh shut up," spat back Addie, "An adventure is an adventure, stupid or not."
"I just hope we don't go on anymore adventures getting back to the group," said Coby.
"Follow me, I'll lead you back," offered Theo.
And so the three Beacon Scouts made their back to the rest of the group to earn their bird watching badges. Addie spent the whole trip thinking about the best way to tell the story of how they got such good pictures.