Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sure Signs of Spring

Older chicks in nestImage via Wikipedia

Each year a barn swallow makes her nest in the very shelted area underneath the roof of the barn door. It's a great space, and she is definitely one smart bird. I can never get close enough to catch her in the nest; my telephoto lens on my point-and-shoot simply cannot handle it. Or perhaps it's the pilot's fault, not the plane. Either way, this is my best shot.

Last year the nest was on the right; Mickey insisted it be removed. I demurred, and magically it disappeared, only to re-appear, rebuilt, on the left. One of the joys of country living is watching the babies fledge. I actually watched the process last year, up close but sans camera (not everything needs to be a 365 photo op).

Sadly, however, life on the farm has a downside--death. I opened the door last Saturday to find a swarm of feathers rise up and greet me knee high in the breeze. Initially, I honestly thought chickens--how did one get in the barn. Guinea hen, actually, judging by the color. Then, as I walked toward the stall area, I found a dead female cardinal by the cat's water bowl. She kills but does not eat her prey.

I always knew that death was a part of the life force, but I just hate having to confront it so closely. Abstractly, I can handle the concept, but being the funeral director is another thing. Still, I am reminded how precious life truly is, and how delicate the balance is often connected to fate. I guess that's life.
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