Porch Tenants

swallow on nest / rejoicing hillsWe’re happy to be the landlords to a pair of barn swallows this summer.  They’ve tucked their neat little mud nest snug up under the eaves of our porch upon the solid (?!) foundation of a single long nail, and don’t seem to mind our comings and goings below.  In return, we have chosen to overlook the mess they are making in favor of enjoying the sound of them twittering affectionately at each other in the mornings and being buzzed as they swoop through the open flyway around our heads.

Barn swallows often fall on the list of “common birds” for most people (you know, not nearly as exciting as, say, a purple martin or a bluebird)—but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these ordinary little neighbors better this year.  For the first time, I’ve had a chance to observe their unique coloring and markings up close (really quite stylish!) and I maintain that there is no small bird quite so swift and elegant in it’s flight as a swallow.  We’ve (I hope) developed a bit of a bond over our mutual aversion for the red squirrel who lurks around the house—and they’ve even (I think) forgiven me for taking this picture: swallow nest / rejoicing hillsIf you will note from the first picture in this post, they built their nest just far enough away from the roof to allow their slim, stream-lined selves in and out.  They didn’t really take into account the fact that they were taking up residence on the porch of a photographer, and I was a little put out with them about that for awhile.  What’s the fun of having a birds’ nest next to your front door if you can’t even photograph what’s inside?  Then, a friend had a genius idea:  what about using a mirror?  (Thanks, Tami!)  I can’t believe I never thought of that myself! A few gymnastics with a small mirror and a camera on top of a dining room chair later, we got this peek at the five prettiest little freckled eggs you ever saw!

I went looking for a verse about birds to pair with these photos, expecting to settle on some kind of general reference—and was surprised and fascinated to discover that swallows are actually specifically referenced in the Bible.  And not just once, but four times! The following psalm was my favorite, but you can check out these links (Proverbs 26:2, Isaiah 38:14 and Jeremiah 8:7) to read the others!swallow with nest / rejoicing hillsHow lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts!  

My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.  

The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.  

How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah.”  (Psalm 84:1-4)IMG_7318 editStay tuned—hopefully there will be a baby bird sequel soon!

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