A swallow just caught my attention.
Once upon a time we lived in the middle of nowhere. Even our immediate neighbours, one either side (we were in the middle) were a good walking distance away. Let’s say, not in earshot.
Yes, surrounded by fields, meadows, a little stream, dried out ponds (spare a thought for the frogs), and generally all that I was accustomed to from my earliest childhood I’d spent with my grandparents. And, the FREEDOM. I was allowed to just wander anywhere. Then I met a bull. But that’s another story. I am a fast runner.
So, on the outhouse right next to our patio/terrace there was the swallows’ nest. You think bricks and mortar, the pyramids, the London Eye, a miracle? Look at a nest. That’s a miracle. An act of perseverance, ingenuity, hard relentless work and focus. Not to mention purpose.
Enter the farmer’s (on the left depending which direction you were looking from) cat. When I say cat I mean panther. Nowadays probably classified as feral. I dare say there was no “cat food”. Cats fed themselves doing it by means cats do best: Hunt.
Great. So far so good. Here is the recipe: Enter the swallows, their freshly hatched brood, my father AND the CAT into the mix. Watch this for a while as the baby swallows are being decimated. Swallows getting agitated, cat getting bold, my father getting ANGRY.
So, one morning I wake up and there is a big black panther lying under the outhouse roof. Shot. There was no blood. But that big black Tom of a cat was dead.
Not so. Apparently it was all in my imagination. I was never to breeze so much as a word to said farmer neighbour and generally condemned to silence. That’s when I decided to become a spy.
I don’t know why, twelve years old, a long time ago, I do remember the cat’s body.
The swallows? Did they come back the next year? I don’t know. By then we had moved.