Barnswallow Babes in the Barn

Every spring,
we lower a section of wire
that protects the chickens and guineas
in the barn
from predators.
We lower it at the ceiling,
just enough for a barn swallow
to jet through and into the barn.
They live there all summer
and raise their families—
and eat millions of mosquitoes
and dazzle us with their flying.
This morning
there were many of them in the barn,
noisily crying distress.
I’m not sure what they were alarmed about,
since our presence doesn’t normally
cause concern.
But it reminded me to look up to the ceiling
at their mud nests.
And in one,
I saw faces
staring out.
The babes are so still,
when parents aren’t feeding them,
they look like little statues.
I’m glad
they’re here;
glad we can work together
in this simple way—
doing what we each do naturally—
to care with each other.