Monday, August 06, 2007

On Swallow Time

It's hard not to be inspired by the efforts of a young Violet-green Swallow. I could be wrong, but I think this little one was in one of our nest boxes until just the other day. It still looks so young, and at the moment of this photograph, appears to still be testing its wings.
It wasn't that long ago it was this, an egg in a nest. Now, just a month later, it is out in the yard and fending for itself. But even more remarkably, in probably just a few more days, it will take off with the other Swallows and head south to Central America. Somehow I find it hard to even imagine a thing so small, starting out in a little box in a yard on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, making such a journey. But it shall, and we will bid it farewell, along with all the other birds that come all this way to build nests and reproduce their young here.

So, this last of the Violet-green Swallow nestlings (sibling to the one above) finally fledged on Sunday. Gone. The yard was full of Swallows that all appeared to be trying to coax and tease this baby out of the nest over the past few days. He would have none of their antics. When he would tire of them, he would hide in the box, and only show himself if he thought his parents were bringing him food. He was even fooled a few times, as mom or dad flew toward him, but only came close enough to chase off an interloper. Now this baby is gone, and soon, he'll be wintering somewhere between Mexico and Nicaragua. The yard is disquietingly quiet.

I'd like to extrapolate from these birds, something about their natural rhythm of time and season, but I can't seem to get my mind off of how Congress voted quickly on the important FISA bill, so they could leave town and take their August vacation. Maybe a handful of Democrats didn't want to be branded soft on terror, as if even voting with Bush would spare them the label. I watch the birds, but it's Congress that teaches me the lesson of Swami Beyondananda: The truth shall upset you free.

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