Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Late yesterday afternoon I was out watering the garden under a fine blue sky when I sensed a great rejoicing above me, a non-stop exaltation coming from the direction of heaven. I looked up and beheld in all that broad clear blue a single barn swallow, just one little swallow way up there, filling all that sky with happiness, chattersinging nonstop while looping and curlicueing in wide curves as though doing some ecstatic skywriting, executing aerodynamic maneuvers that made the Blue Angels look like kindergarten, and he just went on and on, rollicking and singing at the top of his talent, though there were no other swallows around.

Now I don't profess to know all that much about bird emotion, but I do know happiness when I see it, and this was a whole skyful of joy, emanating from one little aerodynamically perfect back and white feathered creature who was using every aerial broadcasting skill at his command to let the world know just how he felt; he was way happier than any lark I ever heard. Just goes to show how mood can change a whole environment.

He wasn't hunting for his dinner, he wasn't calling for a mate, he wasn't fending off intruders into his territory, he was all alone in his glee, frolicking, swooping and singing excitedly all over the sky for no reason that I could see; the only thing I could think he was singing about with such passion would have to be something like "I found a wife! We built a nest! My wife just laid two eggs! Two eggs! Two beautiful eggs!" It was of that nature.


Winston said...

Wonderful observation! But did you also consider that he might have just been insane?

Michael said...

Hi Bob,

I just discovered your great blog (through a link on the Kyoto blog "Notes From the 'Nog"). I share your love of Japan, having lived for three years in a rural farming town in Chiba prefecture back in the Nineties.

Your observations rekindle reminiscences of my own, and for that I thank you.

It's amazing how nearly a decade on, Japan continues to influence my life and outlook in powerful ways -- ways I'm not sure I fully grasp.

Anyway, I would be pleased to exchange links with you, if you're of a mind to do so.

All the best,

Chancy said...

If I could soar and fly around the heavens like that barn swallow, I would be happy and carefree too.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I like your interpretation Robert...even tho you have no hard evidence to back it up. Like Winston said, he could have just been a little loopy; but with your past history of playing mind games with those monkeys, I'm sticking with your version.

Bob Brady said...

Winston, that's an interesting theory, but insanity never crossed my mind, the swallow was so graceful and jabberingly consistent, he really seemed like a new father.

Michael, thanks for the note, will link to your fine blog anon.

Thanks to chancy and joy too for new perspectives, as always.

Trace said...

Absolutely lovely.

Perkunas said...

Sometimes when you watch Crows or Ravens you can see them fold their wings in and do a loop-de-loop, which I can only imagine is for fun. Haven't researched it -- not sure what the orinthologists think it means.