When the swallows come back…


I don’t live, and am not anywhere near Capistrano, but I do love swallows. When I was in second grade, we had to copy paragraphs off the blackboard. Then we would draw a picture to go with the paragraph. The content was a common topic organized by some sort of “unit” of study. We wrote about the circus, and we wrote about birds. I still have many of these pieces written and drawn on now yellowed, brittle manila paper. My favorites are the ones on birds, and I am certain this began my life-long interest in birds.

I have “collected” birds since the early 1980’s, using the Golden Field Guide of North American Birds as a reference. Though my original book and list are with my former spouse in Arizona, I was able to find the exact same edition in a used book store, and I have tried to recreate that list of my successful identifications from memory. I haven’t seen any swallows for the longest time, but over the last few days, I have seen scores.

Barn swallows are marvelous birds. They are small, swift, dark blue to black in color, with a creamy/rosy breast, and a V-shaped tail. I love those things. They soar and swoop, catching bugs. Their food source is our annoyance, and keeping the bug population down, including mosquitoes is a blessing for people who benefit from these wonderful birds. The swallows are out in full force here at the farm. I could watch them all day, even when they are swooping my head, and making me nervous.

I am so grateful for swallows, for my second-grade teacher’s printing exercises, and for the fact that birds rather than the circus captivated my interest. Birds are much easier to “collect” than elephants.


2 responses »

  1. I love this one Deb.

    We took my paternal grandmother to San Juan Capistrano when she visited from Ohio. She would sit on a bench in the courtyard of the mission for a long time, just watching them fly in and out. She loved that she could come flying into So.Calif to see us, when they were migrating through.

    And, I used to take “my kids”, the ones I did childcare for from ages 2 or 4 to 11 or so….to the Santa Ynez River at least twice a week in the summertime. We would lay all day by a rather secluded river pool where you could jump in or lay on the sandy bottom with a rock on your belly and look up at the circular view. Across the water, a cliff of swallows played all day while we did.

    What memories. Thank you!

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