Thursday, September 11, 2008

Barn Swallows

This is a Majolica pitcher that sits on a shelf in my kitchen above my sink. It reminds me during the long cold winter days when there are no twitters or song coming from the porches of our house, that each spring, our migratory neighbors will return. Most of the flock has headed southward now to Central and South America for the winter. I spied one lone barn swallow flying this morning high above the house. Two nights ago there were three huddled together in the eaves of the porch but none last night. Last year, they left on the 10th of September except for the last family which left on the 18th of the month. That set of parents had three "batches" of babies that season. Whew. Usually, there are two "batches" of babies a season. The leaving of the swallows is the harbinger of fall for me.

Twenty years ago when we began building our house, we only got the walls up and the roof on. There were no windows or doors. Since we didn't have to hurry with the building of the house, we could add elements as our piggy bank allowed. During that year a pair of barn swallows ventured inside and built a nest of a beam in the central room. Raised their families and left for the season. We left the nest of the beam for good luck. It is this first family of swallows that began the northward migration to reside on our porches each year. Each year the flock has grown and it is such a delight to watch and listen to them in the summer.
This male barn swallow is sitting on the staff of one of Rhett's metal, and mixed media sculptures that sits on the porch outside of my studio. His nest is just above on a beam.

Safe travels southward, dear neighbors. I will be watching and listening for you come springtime.

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