"Cheep, cheep. Cheep, cheep."
There was something plaintive about those cheeps that caught my attention. I was used to hearing the young violet/green swallows clamoring for goodies their parents brought to the nest, but this cheeping carried more angst than an appetite for a mosquito.
A single fledgling, body stuck out of the nest opening to its wings, watching the swirling, diving aerobatic maneuvers of the other swallows.
"Okay, this time. No, okay, this time. Okay, okay. Now… One, two, thr...."
And out of the nest he flew with far more flutter than flight. Down the driveway, out of the trees to the unobstructed air over the air strip. Dozens of swallows came to cheer him on, pulling on a wing or tail feather to show him how to gain more lift and control, celebrating his first time out of the nest. He flew a hundred feet in a straight line from nest to dead tree branch, but at least half again that far counting the ups and downs and turn-arounds.
“You did it, Charlie, you did it. See, I told you we could fly."
"No more for me, Heckle. I’m not moving from this spot."
"C'mon, Charlie. Look at me. Watch me fly!"
"Heckle? Heckle, where are you?"
"Hey, you guys. Huey, Dewey, Louie. Have you seen Heckle?
"He’s flying over there, Charlie. That’s what we swallows do. We fly."
"Not me. I’m staying right here."
"Nobody can make me fly if I don't want to."
"Hey, guys? Stay a little closer, huh?"
"I’m not gonna do it. Mom? Dad?"
Yes, my dears. Parting is such...............
.........a freakin' disaster!!! Now they've all gone and left us to be devoured by mosquitoes and tortured by those miserable little biting black flies.