Monday, June 27, 2011


It was a lesson I apparently needed. Taking a break from gardening, I sat on the deck, lost in my own thoughts on one of those rare June days here, sunny, warm, and a cloudless blue sky, flowers blooming and birds flying around.

I noticed a swallow, swooping in to squeeze into the nesting box I’d nailed to the house, about seven feet above the deck, out of the reach of our cats. We’d been seeing some scouting and nest building going on there by a pair of barn swallows, their iridescent feathers shining in the midday sun.

Mama swallow approached the nesting box, with a large white feather, longer than she was. She grabbed onto the face of the box, trying to push the feather in. It was sideways in her beak, and all her pushing and noisemaking wasn’t enough to get the feather in. She flew away and dove in again. Still no luck. And, again.

Papa swallow was in the picture, too, swirling and dive bombing around, offering chirpy bits of advice. They flew around together, chirping, plotting.

On the fourth try, Mama had shifted the feather a bit, so the point was at more of an angle, and the feather slid into the hole, along with her. Papa chirped his glee, and there was a bit of a rustle inside the box for a bit, until Mama poked her head out, and flew off, joining Papa in a victory lap around the yard.

The feather was in, and the nest was about done. Let the egg laying begin!

Whatever human problem I was contemplating there, sitting on the deck, sipping iced tea and recuperating from a couple of hours of weeding and trimming, faded away. Perhaps if I just took a different approach, things would go easier.

1 comment:

Sue McMillan Davis said...

Hi Neal! Love your writing - you are a man of many talents, and I'm so glad our paths crossed all those years ago! The details of "life" that you notice are beautiful, things that are so easy to miss... to pass right by in all the rush of the world. Yes .... perserverence - something ALL of us could use more of!! Take care, my friend! Sue