Spring Forward

The weather was cold and blustery on the day the Violet-green Swallows came back. It was early March. A south wind without an erg of warmth whipped Lake Washington into infinite fractals of pewter-gray waves topped by icy whitecaps. It blew right through all three layers of my clothes — jacket, sweatshirt, and high-tech thermal underwear — like neutrons whizzing unhindered through solid rock. To keep my floppy blue hat from flying away, I had pulled the drawstrings so tightly around my head I was getting a migraine. I knew my forehead would be embossed for hours after I got home and took off my hat.

Enduring the worst of the wind, I trudged along the Loop Trail where it paralleled the lake, wondering why the heck I had bothered to be out here at all when every bird in the known universe had the sense to hunker down. Then a dark shape whirled by, too fast for the eye to follow. I looked up. There against the roiling gray clouds were three Violet-green Swallows, dancing in the wind, dominating the waves, catching insects almost casually.

Spring is here. The swallows have come home.

I laughed in the storm.