15 Feb

Just outside the entrance to my studio are two barn-swallow nests. Some people consider the prolific birds a nuisance. I do not. 

I anticipate the annual arrival of mom and pop barn swallow. It makes me happy to see them jet in to check out the accommodations. They must decide whether the size and quality of construction of the existing nest meets their future family’s requirements. Following that serious decision-making process, they make any necessary home repairs and settle in. 

Because the birds have been so faithful to return each spring, bringing with them the joy and anticipation of new life, I decided to name my studio after them, Five Swallows Studio. 

Presumably soon after arrival, the mom and pop birds have a family-planning session and reach a consensus because fairly soon after the move in, mamma bird settles in . . . tightly. She typically will not be disturbed from her planting by any noise, or human – or even feline – traffic. She honkers down and will remain steadfast, dedicated to protecting the babies she doesn’t even know yet. 

When the precious bundles of joy – usually five – reveal themselves to their adoring parents and start growing . . . really fast, parental activity picks up. Mom and pop come and go with scrumptious take-out for the kiddos. They love it, too, and always want more! Soon – way too soon – the little ones are strong enough to try out their flight navigation systems. It’s fun to watch them set out on family outings. In the beginning, some babies fly more skillfully than other, but eventually all of them come and go at will.

I love these birds and am grateful to share a common environment with them. 

In mid-February, during the unusual winter storm that brought ice and three-to-seven inches of snow to Central Texas, I used the studio as a safe house for my contained plants that were too big and heavy to move into my residence. As I was harboring the collection of plants from the multi-day subfreezing forecast with nighttime temperatures as low as five degrees, a swallow flew into the studio. It fluttered around at first, trying to escape through fixed windows. But when I opened the front door, the bird perched itself firmly on the door top without taking its leave. 

I stood still, telling the dear creature that it could safely leave through the door. But it seemed not to want to escape. Rather it turned to face me. Because I don’t believe in coincidences, I was struck by its movement. 

As we looked at each other, it occurred to me that there was meaning in its presence. After all, swallows do symbolize good luck. Momentarily, the bird flew out the open door as if its mission were complete. 

I wonder if my little feathered friend is one of the babies I watched set flight for its first time. Perhaps we have a connection beyond our own understandings. If no other good luck comes to me as a result of this visit, simply considering the possibility we share a spiritual connection is in itself most fortunate.

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