|collection of j. parry|
have you ever watched a swallow build its nest?
we were so fortunate to have a nesting pair right of swallows above our lucky dumpster door for two years running. watching them, i was fascinated by the amount of work it took to make that little mud nest, reminiscent of the coil pots i made in elementary school. it all started with just a couple of non-imposing wet globs. but it grew and grew. the nest transformed from a dark wet brown to a slate grey as the mud dried and shrank to the perfect size. and in that little circle of mud, a litter of three was born, not once, but thrice. many people will knock the nests down for fear of bird skat, but i swear, that nest above our sign was good luck. it was actually the best advertising we at the lucky dumpster ever had. because it stopped people dead in their tracks: they took photos by the hundreds. they posed underneath it. you'd think they were city slickers, and had never seen a swallow's nest before. but around here, the swallows are everywhere, swooping through the sky eating mosquitoes, and building strategic nests in the sheltered eaves, the cafe overhangs, on the river boathouses, in the empty barns and sheds and outbuildings. just another reason i feel so fortunate to call this place home.
i wonder how some folks can live so far outside of nature. in the churning machinations of the city, nature hides. and civilization has a way of keeping nature at bay: controlled, pruned, comfortably tamed and at a safe distance. so it is easy to miss the flock of bushtits smaller than a silver dollar, the glowing sheet of spider's webs across the grass' surface, the haloes or sun-dogs on a hazy day, or the red-breasted robins drunk off of holly berries. for all the times i have experienced unadulterated, honest to goodness joy because of the miracle of nature, i wonder: do people even know what they're missing?