Just before dusk on these long almost-summer afternoons, the birds put on a display of aerobatics that's breathtaking. I can sit on the porch and look out over my yard and the vast fields beyond and see them mostly swallows, flying back and forth, straight up and straight down, in all directions around me. Hundreds of them. Literally.
At times one will be flying directly toward me, at a speed that seems beyond control, and then it will veer straight up and over at the last second. They look as if they're speeding directly at each other, and changing directions too quickly, amid all that traffic, to avoid collisions.
I'm sure the swallows land somewhere, sometimes, but I never see it. The other birds, the black phoebes and mockingbirds and finches that have their homes closer to mine, will sometimes venture into the mayhem. But their trips are shorter and unlike the swallows, they seem to have a destination in mind. Usually it's a perch on one of the fences that close in my yard. Some of us, they're telling me, know our boundaries.