Tree Swallows in the Morning

I practice my breast stroke and then my backstroke. I have a long way to go to master them.

Tree Swallows in the Morning
Photo by Patrice Bouchard / Unsplash

The water feels warm against the cool air. I take off my shirt and climb down the ladder into the murky lake. I feel the sensation of the air and water rise up my legs, my swim shorts, and my chest.

The water pushes away any last remnants of sleep from my body. I let go the ladder and slip under the water. My head comes up, water rolling over me as I wipe my eyes. I look across the lake and see a tree swallow, skimming the water, hunting for insects.

feathered blue bomber
dipping low and fast
reflections too slow

I practice my breast stroke and then my backstroke. I have a long way to go to master them. I see the tree swallow disappear into the dock, bringing food it caught to its nest. My head dips below the water again.

mother, father
your life becomes mine
empty nest

I climb up the ladder and onto the floating dock. I walk over to where I saw the bird disappear and listen intently. Soon I hear the faint peeping sound of chicks, hidden deep in the plastic dock. I see a swallow fly straight to the sounds, open its wings to slow down, and disappear in a small hole.

Silence.

abandoned nest
spring sun casts shadows
hidden bird sings