This spring, under the eaves at the corner of our front porch, a pair of barn swallows occupied a long-dormant mud nest, refurbished it a bit, and raised a brood of five young'uns. A barn swallow's nest is an engineering marvel, if not atheistically pleasing. And, while it doesn't necessarily complement Miss Brenda's garden-ringed porch, there was never a consideration of removing it--birds are passion of mine.
A month ago, when Caleb and little brother Taylor were visiting Eegeebeegee, I positioned a step ladder where I could haul them up to peek at the young birds in the nest. They didn't seem all that fascinated with them--at least not as much as I was--but when his mother (she of the high and exalted position of "Bearer of Grandchildren") arrived to regain charge of her brood, Caleb drug her over to the ladder and implored her to climb up and take a look, "I put ladder for you, Mommy."
Yesterday evening, as a summer thunderstorm, bringing blessed rainy relief to our parched parcel, wound down to a drizzle, I stepped out on the front porch to enjoy the cool. As I always do, I glanced up at the swallow nest to see if I could see the chicks' heads poking up. What I saw was five fully fledged birds crowded onto their now too small adobe abode. Must have been more than a week since I last checked on them--they had grown up fast. I eased over to the corner of the porch to get a closer look, and as I got nearly directly underneath them, they exploded from the nest like a feathered frag grenade and spilled into the dusky sky over our front yard.
I sat in a rocker until dark, watching them chase chatteringly through the evening air and bid them good luck and happy hunting.