Flying With Baby Swallows

    I am a person who is easily distracted by nature. On my way to wherever I get waylaid by bugs, flowers, clouds, the wind dancing through the trees, raindrops, otters and sometimes things that are not physically here and so I have issues getting to where I’m going on time. You think people would know that by now, but no, I get scolded on occasion for being late.

    Most people are a bit more, well, wound shall we say. Must be here, must be there. And there are those occasions when we do have to be at the proper place at the proper time. But I found something that is well worth a scolding. Flying with baby swallows.

    My daily walk takes me along the Wisconsin River and over a bridge but occasionally I stop midway across because underneath the bridge are a colony of nesting Cliff Swallows and I like to take a moment to watch the aerial ballet. Yesterday the babies had just fledged and were practicing in the park next to the river staying close to the ground and setting down once in a while to rest. Then up they would take off all together like a drift of snow in the winter wind, not as graceful as mom and dad but learning.

    After a few minutes of test flying they all swarmed over the water. High at first then closer to the river’s waves to catch whatever bugs were hovering there. Being babies, they did not see me as a threat I suppose or maybe they are just not yet experienced pilots, but whatever the reason they flew towards me, dividing only at the last minute to get around me. They circled and then returned, kissing my hair with their wingtips as they went by, oblivious to all but the process of trying to command this new technique called flight.

    I stood still, letting them go by several times as I looked out over the water. It was just like flying with them. I could almost feel the lift as they swooped and rose, then descended. What a wild experience! I highly recommend it.

    Some things are well worth being late for but we don’t know what that experience will be if we don’t just slow down. Be late once in a while, the earth will still keep spinning and life will go on, the only difference will be that you have traded a minute or two of your time for  a treasure.

    And isn’t that what we really want from life?


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