Friday, June 06, 2008

hard to swallow

Between this week's posts and the last four days at work, I am exhausted. I started to sit down and write Friday's post, but my mind went on its own way ricocheting from Brazil to Oliver Cromwell. My only choice was to take it -- and the dog -- for a walk.

June. The start of summer. Roses in bloom. Dusk bringing relief from searing heat. Not here. This is Oregon.

Well, there are roses. Lots of roses. But you will find more heat in an Alan Greenspan speech than in our June evenings this year.

55. Not the speed limit. That was the temperature as we took our usual spin around the archives park.

But the park was beautiful. Swathes of green lawn. Freshly-trimmed paths. Streams of fresh bark dust. It was almost like getting lost in a Tarkay landscape.

Then I heard it. Chit chit. There is no other call like it. The violet-green swallows were back from their winter vacation in Mexico.

I often wonder if they entertain retired school teachers from Michigan while the rest of us are ripping open Christmas presents. But they certainly entertained Jiggs and me. Well, me. Jiggs thought we were wasting sniffing time.

I enjoy the swifts who take up residence in my chimney every year. But they are high-fliers. The swallows are exhibitionists. They skim the surface of the creek at breakneck speeds. They twist. They turn. As if they enjoy having an appreciative audience.

Of course, they are simply eating dinner. Sweeping those gnats and mosquitoes out of the air as easily as a humpback harvests krill. And each sweep is one less skeeter to annoy our hot summer nights -- if they ever get here.

As I watched one swallow spiral up into a stall and hurtle toward the earth, I glimpsed a contrail catching the last rays of Thursday. And at the head was an airplane. Heading south -- perhaps where the swallows lived these last few months.

And I recalled a summer day -- maybe 40 years -- in our back yard, looking up at another contrail and thinking I would some day be on that plane heading to Mexico.

And I will.


Anonymous said...


i've been up since about 4:30, packing away. i just read your post and it had a nice calming effect. thanks, i needed that!

have a great weekend.


Steve Cotton said...

After the posts earlier this week, I thought something a little more introspective would be in order.

I intend to do a summary on the drug issue this evening.