The swallows have returned to the neighborhood. We watch them through our large, plate glass windows as they scope out the houses for the perfect spots to build their nests. They like the eaves of our house: high up; well-protected.
I love swallows.
But I want them to nest elsewhere. To nest far away from our cars and garden and picture window, so I don’t have to constantly clean up their poop from windows, car hoods, windshields, and veggie plants. I wince to admit it, but I have a bird-nest version of NIMBYism.
When they show up, I become the crazy-lady in the neighborhood, running outside—sometimes carrying the cat (as if the birds notice)—waving my arms, muttering “no, no, no” as the birds swoop by in front of my face and swing up into the eaves. There they cling precariously to a smidgen of stucco.
Pressed against the walls, they look down on me. I clap my hands and wave my arms in a more threatening manner, then shake a long stick at them until, eventually, they fly off and disappear, looking for quieter eaves.
Maybe I should do what some of my neighbors do: hang aluminum strands from the eaves or strings of fishing wire. I was told it keeps the birds away. It’s certainly a much more genteel approach than my method.
Or maybe I could accept the birds’ presence and graciously offer them a home, recognizing their bug-population control efforts.
Letting the birds nest would mean cleaning up a lot of bird poop.
But it would also quiet The Judge within, who, as I wrote this, got activated. There’s a part of me that’s distressed by my efforts to keep the birds away. Being the crazy lady is some of it; at a deeper level is a feeling of being disconnected from nature. And of feeling selfish.
When people ask me why I write, I think about insights like this that are often hidden in shadowy places. Writing is a means to help me uncover them.
Daily Post-Prompt: Disappear