“Times are bad.
Children no longer obey their parents,
and everyone is writing a book.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
“We cannot always build the future for our youth,
but we can build our youth for the future.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
(a youthful barn swallow, stuck in our garage / Julie Cook / 2017)
This is not a post about my own child…
nor is it a post about anyone else’s child in particular…
and yet, none the less, it is a post about children.
All children, no matter the species, spend their youthful days swinging upon
some sort of learning curve….
As in growing up…there is always some constant state of learning.
Life is indeed a constant lesson on what to do…
…but probably more importantly, perhaps the lessons are in what not to do.
As in don’t touch…HOT
Don’t step there…DEEP, WET, GROSS, DANGER
Don’t eat that…HOT, GROSS, BAD, POISON
Don’t get out of my sight
Don’t let go of my hand
Don’t forget to_______ (fill in the blank)
Anyone who has survived getting their children to a certain point in life…say,
maybe 30, can tell you that it was harrowing…
And frustratingly still, say at age 30, the coast is yet anything but clear.
Such is the lot of a parent.
A life lived in a constant state of worry, jubilation, pride, disgust, sorrow, anticipation…
the list is endless.
During the summer months I often have had problems with hummingbirds
flying into my carport / garage.
I don’t know why they do it….
there are no flowers, nothing bright and colorful, just an open
dirty white space where two vehicles live, when not on the road…
along with two trash trash cans and all the recycling.
When the birds appear, I usually grab an extension pole—
one of those things that telescopes upward allowing one to clean a ceiling fan etc.
I walk around the garage with pole extended,
complete with a soft brush on the end in order for the now tired hummingbird to light,
all in order for me to slowly lower the pole allowing the bird
to clear the raised garage door and fly to freedom.
Sometimes the birds are so tired that I can actually pick them up by hand from
atop the windowsill.
The birds tire because they buzz around the white ceiling…
unable to perceive that it is indeed a ceiling and not the sky.
Buzzing and bumping into a white ceiling that won’t let them out.
All the while, I’m craning my neck at a 45 degree angle, balancing a
pole blindly and wandering about dizzy while trying to get the birds to light on the pole.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.
There I was yesterday afternoon, minding my own business in the kitchen
busy cooking supper, when my husband arrived home from work.
I go to the door to let him in when he tells me that I’ve got birds in the garage.
Knowing that it was too early for the hummingbird madness,
I couldn’t imagine what in the world he was talking about…
that is until I saw them.
Two barn swallows were whirring about in circles along the top of the garage ceiling…
flying 90 to nothing!
If you don’t know, barn swallows are the acrobats of the sky.
They zoom and dart, precariously skimming the surface of ground or bush as they snap up every
and any sort of insect, never missing a beat of wing.
These two were no hummingbirds and they were not about to let me grab them nor were they
comprehending that they had to swoop downward in order to get out.
As I grabbed a broom, my husband said “let’s eat and they’ll get out on their own.
following supper there were still two fast as lightening birds swirling and
racing in circles around the top of my garage.
We backed out the cars.
We got brooms and rakes.
I even ran to find one of my crab nets.
All of a sudden, another swallow flies in the garage.
But this third bird actually flew in, did a couple of laps,
then dipped low while flying back out.
We went back inside to watch and wait as we had an inkling this third bird had a plan.
The third bird kept coming back in, looping around a time or two, then dipping low
each time near the backdoor, then swooping out.
Finally one of the misguided birds took notice and did the same.
This left just one hapless bird who seemed clueless as to where everyone went.
What we deduced to be the mother to these two slow learners, would return in and out until
she finally got the one lagging behind to eventually follow suit.
After about two hours, we were thankfully minus the three swallows but
we had a copious amount of bird poop all over the floor, walls, windows…
And yet I marveled at this most teachable moment within this small family.
Happy, as well as somewhat awed by what I had just witnessed,
my thoughts drifted to that of a loving Father who also tirelessly dips into our own lives…
trying over and over to demonstrate just how it should be done…
until we finally get it and follow suit….
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.