Monday, August 17, 2009

BEFORE THE STORM


Beside the lake, days that bring summer rain also bring the swallows. One overcast day, as I drove over the bridge at the small local marina, and headed for home along the shore road, I could see the sky between the trees was filled with swallows, diving and looping in the nothingness of the air. Every time I see these birds flying before a storm, I'm reminded of what my ex once told me, that when he was a boy in Saskatchewan in the 1940s, the old-timers on the rez used to say these swallows the real thunderbirds. They told him that many people pictured the eagle as the thunderbird, because the eagle was so large and fierce looking, but that it was really the tiny swallows who bore that name.

The rain poured down suddenly and sent every living thing hurrying for shelter. Then later, as the storm tapered off, the birds returned to dance again in the newly-washed sky, and I dashed out between the drops and a snapped a few pictures of the birds as best I could.

13 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Deb, I notice that my backyard birds go 'crazy' before the rains come. I can always tell that there's a storm coming because the birds are busy beavers BEFORE the storm. Guess they are getting all of the food they can --in case the storm lasts a long time.

Great post.. Thunder-birds, huh???
Hugs,
Betsy

Lin said...

fun to learn more about your local birds...

SandyCarlson said...

That's a great story about the swallows. Sure does challenge my perceptions!

Sylvia K said...

I agree with Sandy, Deborah, that's a great story about the swallows and changes my perception, too.

Great post and shots as always!

Have a great week! I'll be missing until Thursday, but look forward to catching up on Friday.

Sylvia

fourwindsphotojournal said...

Always a new fact here, I love it. We don't have quite that many swallows. I've never noticed the birds before a rain, but will watch closely next time.

But, I do know there is a lot of bird activity before snow comes.

I wish we would get some rain this afternoon. It is
87º and humid right now.

Poetikat said...

That is one of those words you just take for granted and never really consider, "thunderbirds". I am enlightened on two levels.

Kat

Cloudia said...

Oh thank you for this lovely post and information. You are a dove...or swallow?

Aloha

Quiet Paths said...

A very interesting tidbit about those swallows which I have never heard. I always learn something from you, Deb.

lunardancer said...

Thunderbirds? I can't imagine how a swallow could be symbolized by thunder. But as always, the image of power and strength is not limited to external appearance. Your post is well-written and entertaining to read. And thanks for the thunderbird info.

Kathiesbirds said...

I like this story.

Rose said...

Don't you just love to watch the swallows swoop and glide through the air?

Sue said...

Your photos evoke the sense of storminess well -- interesting about the swallows as thunderbirds.

me ann my camera said...

I have spent the last few days browsing tgrough one of my most favourite child's book."Smokey Days Wigwam Stories" by Charles Eastman[Ohiyesea] and Elaine Eastman... looking for any reference to swallows thinking that the Sioux, a plains tribe alsomight have had a similiar legendary reference as the Cree, but I didn;t find any. Then I checked out GlooscapI didn't find any similsrity in Eastern creation stories. I used to read Eastman's book to my grade four students and they loved the stories and would often beg for more. I hope my grandchildren will be so enthralled some day. I loved your swallow reference.
Ann