Wednesday, October 14, 2009

are your papers in order?

The swallows are missing.

Regular readers will know that I have had a love-hate relationship with the colony of swallows that homestead in the rafters of the patio. A few brave avian couples managed to outlast Marta's concerted military operations against their nest-building.

Those happy few raised two sets of chicks during the summer. Filling the patio with the sound of new life, and filling the air with the joy of acrobatics. My own private Cirque du Soleil. Unfortunately, they also filled the patio and its furniture with a regular layer of guano.

When I returned from Oregon, I saw about five swallows flying around almost without purpose. Sunday there were two. Tuesday there were none.

No chirps greeted me when I turned on the light. No birds zoomed through the patio to the open sky. It was a bit eerie. As if the king snake had returned and had a full day of eating.

Last night I went to the kitchen cupboard and discovered that I was pulling a Mother Hubbard. I had failed to buy any groceries for meals this week.

Easy solution: swing by the taco restaurant.

But first, I needed to replenish my peso pile. Off I went to the ATM at the bank -- and there they were.

I know one of the basic rules of blogging is to never leave home without your camera. I wish I had followed the rule.

Because soaring around the bank and on all of the neighboring wires were my swallows, and my neighbor's swallows, and all of the swallows for who knows how far around. All looking for a place to alight. Apparently, for the night.

Looking at the sidewalk, it appears that they had all been waiting for Tippi Hedren for some time.

What I do not know is where they are going. Certainly, not north. Summer in Melaque; winter in Oregon is the type of stupid decision I would make. I understand they are heading to South America for the winter.

But wherever they are headed, they are going as a group, and they are leaving soon.

I will try to get a photograph tomorrow. It may simply be of de-birded electrical wires.

That night I went up on the roof and just watched the stars and planets for an hour. And I started wondering as well when it will be my time to migrate away from Melaque.

But, like the swallows, that is a question to be answered another day.

Today I simply cherish the experience of watching them pack up their bags to head off on their bird adventures.

For the new generation of swallows born on my patio this summer, I wish: Godspeed.


Anonymous said...

hi steve,

since i just got back from my trip yesterday, i have lots to do this morning, but first i allowed myself to read your post. as always, i thoroughly enjoyed it. i will get caught up on your other posts when i have more time.

i will e-mail you soon and tell you about my trip. i had a wonderful time. suffice it to say that now i know why people love paris.

have a great day!


Babs said...

Steve - Just finished reading a book about Alexander Von Humboldt. The discovery of guano in South America by his expedition party revolutionized fertilizer the world over during his time. It was as precious as gold and shipped by boat loads to Europe.
Maybe there is a business venture there for you - when you're bored.
Ha..........One man's trash is another man's treasure......

Islagringo said...

And didn't you just buy a new camera too? What am I going to have to do to get you to learn to NEVER leave home without it!

Anonymous said...

You will know in your heart,when to leave Melaque or mexico....
Mean time,have a wonderful stay.

Anonymous said...

" . . . . my time to migrate away from Melaque."

Are you telling us that you are transforming as you write, growing little swallow wings where your vestigial gills once were?

I can imagine your already working with a local tailor to fashion a shiny satin suit (double-breasted?) with special vents for these dainty wings.

So I shall fall asleep tonight, Chagallesque visions of avian Cotton, winging his way over Mexico to a new nest.

Gawd what an image! Hitler's mad bumblebee in contradictory flight!

A. Nony Moose

DanaJ said...

To: A. Nony Moose,
all the bird and art reference,
maybe you should change your name to Hier. Ony Moose.
as in Bosch.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your tale of Swallows. You will miss th... I enjoyed your tale of Swallows. You will miss their songs, but not their leftovers.


Steve Cotton said...

Teresa -- Welcome back. If I could, I would live in Paris full-time. I look forward to your trip stories.

Babs -- Money from manure. Jesus had good reason to use wealth as the prime corrosive influence on spiritual development.

Islagringo -- I did. And when I went back, the swallows were gone. Ah, well. Next year.

Min -- I will indeed.

ANM -- Analogies are my reality.

DanaJ -- Nice retort. We are almost our own Algonquin table.

Mom -- Amen -- to both.

DanaJ said...

Logrolling has turned into blogrolling!

Steve Cotton said...

DanaJ -- Indeed it has.

DanaJ said...

the Algonquin reference had me flashing back to a favorite book, by Joseph Mitchell, "McSorley's Wonderful Saloon". One story in the book tells of political candidates throwing a free for all party that serves only stiff drink and all the BBQ'd meat one can eat. Meat being expensive and hard to come by, it's a gorging raucous over the top event for the invited.
I thought maybe that's the origin of our political "Roasts".
Anyway, Google feels like cheating frequently. I used to have to beat a path to the library, or search old school notebooks to keep up with the thoughts and words and references swirling around me.
Happy trails in the house hunting.