Y A Y THE SWALLOWS ARE BACK
In the summer, when i lived on my beloved Holy Island, swallows would sit on the telephone wires and washing line outside my bedroom window and wibble, warble their amazing song. the first serenade of the morning and the last lullaby of the night. i could lie back on my pillows and watch them weaving and swerving, flying like jet fighters and singing like angels. a pair would nest in my outhouse swooping in and out with beaks full of bugs for their babes, totally oblivious of the cats, aware that when on the wing nothing with fur had a chance.
One year i just happened to lean in, to see how much gas was left in the calor gas tanks, as the littlies fledged. four of them leaped from the nest and launched themselves upwards, grazing my left ear with their wings. three caught an updraft and, shepherded by parents, made a safe, soft landing in a tree. the fourth lost the plot, and all confidence, and skidded, tumbling over and over feathers and feet flailing coming to a hard halt on the concrete path.
Aware of two furry beasties pricking up ears, extending whiskers showing a healthy interest in swallow casserole i scooped the tiny bundle up in cupped hands and hurled him, down wind, as high into the air as i could manage. for a heart stopping moment he stuttered and started to fall. the cats followed him with eyes fully dilated, muscles stretching into pounce mode. i held my breath and willed him to swoop, "swipe wings, buddy, do SOMETHING." just as it seemed he was doomed to be feline flambe an updraft caught him and, mummy and daddy on either side, he made a valiant effort and landed beside his siblings on a branch. whiskers drooped, dribble dried, pupils closed, cats decided meals on wings were a no go so might as well go back to slumber land.
This morning i half woke at dawn to a familiar sound in an unfamiliar setting. a loooooooong burbling followed by an inward gulp.......and........burble wibble warble on and on and on...........ah yes..........the swallows are back and they've found the telephone wires outside my Hexham bedroom window..........some things never change............nice isn't it.