An American Indian elder is cursed by the gods during an incident in 1650. As a result, Red Hawk is denied entry into the Village Beyond the Sun and must take the form of a living hawk to become Guide of Spirits, only free to ascend to his family in the Village Beyond the Sun after wiping the tears from the face of the last member of the Hawk Tribe.
His task leads him into modern day. In order to save the newly exposed burial mound that contains the last of the Hawk spirits, Red Hawk is directed to team with a mentally-challenged, young, limousine driver named Herman Hudson. Together, they must face the violence of a powerful developer and the hunger of a city starving for jobs.
And as a final task from the gods, Red Hawk must claim Herman's spirit, too.
From a cloudless sky, one sun births millions of speckles of millions of shades of yellow and green in a mosaic that pulsates on waves of the
great lake. The golden mosaic sprints across miles of rolling olive-colored water to a shoreline, shaggy and unaltered by the presence of man. The water churns, whitening at a break in the shoreline — the modest ﬂow of a crooked river. The sparkling mosaic skips across the disturbance to follow darkening river waters. As the river snakes and the water slows, shadows of towering pine, bushy maple and rugged birch impinge on the golden mosaic, thinning and widening it at the river banks.
The mosaic gallops toward two Indians traversing the west river bank. Red Hawk, an elder holding a walking stick embellished with hawk feathers and bird carvings, stops along the barren bank of a river crook. He lifts his rugged face to the sun, enjoying a simple moment to bask in its glow. His gray, braided hair is crowned by a short headdress of brown and reddish-brown feathers. An emblem, a hawk ﬂying toward the sun, is embroidered on the back of his jerkin. A woman follows him. She carries a baby on her back, bound to a board with a bright blanket adorned in sun and hawk embroidery. The board is suspended from a strap on the woman’s forehead.
Red Hawk turns to the Indian woman following him and extends his crinkled, brown hand in front of her face, the back of it blocking the river mosaic from her view. She stops to smile into his bright eyes and at his playful action. The child loosens his arms to ﬂail them in an eﬀort to face Red Hawk. Red Hawk turns his extended hand, cupping it before bringing it close to the woman’s face. Her mouth opens in amazement. In Red Hawk’s cupped hand, he holds the river’s golden mosaic of sunlight. The tiny squares bound into the air inches above his palm, ﬂoat back to his palm, and then erupt into the air again in an endless dance of shape and color.
The surprise lifts her spirits, for she thought that he stopped only to tell her the same story again. Red Hawk had spoken of it many times — perhaps, too many times — of the pyre and the ﬁre that would consume him, of the greatness of his sacriﬁce that the gods may forgive the people, of the depth of his own destiny and of his new life as a Chosen One in the Village Beyond the Sun.
To her, the story did not make complete sense. It was too much for her to wrap her mind around. She was preoccupied with children, planting, gathering food, sewing, cooking: all matters in which a priest did not have to concern himself. But still, the narrative was embedded within her being — so much so that at the end of this journey she would willingly give her child to the elite tribe of Hawk priests; for the child was needed to replenish the loss of Red Hawk after the upcoming ceremony. Yes, the dancing speckles were a pleasant distraction to the growing emptiness in her heart and to the perplexing yet convincing myth of the cult of priests.
All of the while, Red Hawk experiences the pulsating speckles in another way. They have life of their own. When each reaches its apex above his palm, he sees the miniature, glistening face of those Hawk priests who have already passed to the Village Beyond the Sun. The faces are young with dark, sleek, braided hair. Other faces are like that of Red Hawk, aged with wrinkles and ﬂy-away hair. While the woman continues to marvel at the thrill of a magic trick, Red Hawk closes his eyes. His face shows the ecstasy of the visualization of his own image among this cadre of the honored of his tribe.
After he slowly opens his eyes, he closes his hand, lifts it to the sky and casts the speckles in the direction of the river. The brilliant speckles ﬂoat like a cloud of butterﬂies to the river surface to reform into the sun’s golden mosaic. The baby begins to coo.