The call of a bird and the sun on my back

I can’t imagine anyone could possibly be interested in this but... this is the sort of thing I told myself I’d do if I had my very own blog. And I do, so...

This is an exceedingly bad photo taken by me of a mittfull of baby barn swallows currently habitating in the ceiling of our lower deck. (Which is, of course, also to say the floor of our upper deck, but that didn’t seem worth pointing out.)

Back in the olden days, I guess some wiseacre figured it was a good idea to cut holes in said deck, in order for it to breathe or something like that. (Considerations of living in a rain forest: damp is everywhere.) He probably did not mean for the holes to be roughly barn swallow-sized, but they are. So every spring, the swallows come back from wherever they go when they’re not here and make nests up there.

Now, granted: sensible people would probably plug the holes up when the swallows are on hiatus but, the fact is, I really enjoy watching first the nest-building operation, then the growing family. And since my summer office is just a few feet away (though fortunately not directly under them) I get to watch them grow, something that’s happening so quickly at the moment, you almost swear you can see it. (As David remarked, they’re filling the hole a little more every day.)

One thing you come to realize is what a huge undertaking raising these young ‘uns is for their parents. Four little barn swallows need a lot of groceries. The babies squall and squall from dawn to dusk for their next meal and the parents each seem to make about a million trips to the nest each day in order to stuff bugs into the hungry mouths of their little ones.

The other thing you come to realize is that the whole falling out of the nest scenario is a very real concern. At least, it is to me: parents and little ones don’t seem concerned at all. But the babies are very, very greedy and, now that they’re getting bigger, when a parent comes back with a bug, they lean way out to try to be the one to get the meal. Sometimes I catch my breath, but no one has fallen out and onto their head. And what would I do if one fell out? Stuff it back in there? Or catch bugs and try to raise it myself, though I never aspired to be a mother to a barn swallow. There’s so many things I’d never be able to teach it: How to catch bugs. How to eat them. How to fly. And how, when flying, to catch just the right updraft to maximize the wind velocity in order to achieve a full soar. I don’t know how to do that. I’m hoping any latent bird-raising instincts I may have aren’t put to the test.

OK: so now I’ve written all of this, but I’m thinking: this is the spot where I should insert some writing/publishing/editing/life metaphor. Except I don’t seem to have one. Just another long summer day in the rain forest, writing on the deck (or porch or verandah, depending on your own geography), enjoying these baby birds. I guess we need moments in life like that, too. Little oasis that have no purpose other than amusement or enjoyment or just a teeny rest from all the important stuff. Thanks for letting me share this one with you.


Sandra Ruttan said…
That's beautiful Linda. Many people live in concrete jungles and their lives are nothing but running from one thing to the next, and they don't take time to stop and watch anything. When I lived on Thetis Island, I used to love to watch the eagles.
Thetis is not far from where I am. I could almost throw stones, if I were the stone-throwing kind. (But it's not, nor am I.)

And we have loads of eagles here. Lots of herons this year. (I don't know why it's such a big year for herons.) And a few days ago, I looked up from my desk and saw a mother deer with twins on the driveway.

Living in the city can be lovely, too. I lived in one until quite recently. It's funny because, in many ways, my life hasn't altered greatly since I moved. It's the writer thing, right? So much of our life is on the inside it matters less where we park our outside, I guess.
Sandra Ruttan said…
The only thing living in the country does is allow me to stay at home. The city is too expensive. But Vancouver Island is a different ballpark entirely.

This has me rather curious about where you do live. If you're up for connecting dots, it might not be hard for you to figure out why I spent three years of my life on Thetis Island. And, now that my one dear friend has moved from there, never want to go back.

I love Vancouver Island, though. I spent a year living in Duncan, and I do miss many things about the island in general.

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