June 1, 2022
One of my favorite summer rituals, which I’ve mentioned before on this blog, is watching chimney swifts gather at their roost sites. I’m grateful to the friend who introduced me to these little guys – and pleased that I correctly guessed where they would be in my new town. It was a joy to arrive at this building shortly before nightfall and find it encircled by hundreds of birds.
These “cigars with wings”, barely visible against the deep blue, chase after a few last mosquitoes before letting themselves drop into the chimney. As they circle and make false dives, they remind me of children who don’t want to go to bed. Eventually, though, they all disappear. I can hear them chirping inside the chimney as I pack up to leave.
Summer and the swifts always return, even if the legacy of a hard winter stays with us. It’s much the same as our current situation. This world-altering pandemic isn’t “over”, as many grieving families will tell you. But it will keep entering new and strange phases. Some of these may feel somewhat normal, even if others decidedly do not.
Case in point: over the weekend, my community held a music festival. It was the first of its kind since 2019 – and it felt more normal than abnormal. I wasn’t there for long, but I got to watch a sea of familiar faces enjoying good music and good food. Attending a concert with friends is something many of us haven’t done in three years. It’s heartening to take part in some of the old summer rituals. We are coming home to roost.