The patience of a saint no longer.


Since early Spring I’ve been teasing you with tidbits about the beautiful barn swallows that inhabit the Ecorse Creek by the footbridge.

For months, nearly every day when I’d pass by, they would be dipping and gliding around the dense brush or reeds, or flitting from tree to tree all along the Creek banks. I made it my mission that I would capture a still shot of at least one of them before Summer’s end.  They seemingly never stand still in their relentless search for insects.

But, just like the waterfowl that have gone missing, the past few weeks the barn swallows have been absent as well. So, I have dug up my photos taken through the course of the Spring and Summer and picked the best of the bunch, albeit a bit blurry, for today’s blog post.

When I first encountered these pretty indigo-blue birds, with their peachy-colored bellies and long scissor-like tails, it was because they frequently dive bombed me as I paused on the footbridge to glance out over the water.   After all, this was their domain – the place where a flock of swallows would relentlessly fly in every direction, hoping to scope out, and then grab, flying insects to feed on.  I spent a lot of time watching them as they’d nab their prey, then momentarily return to a tree branch to eat that insect, before going out foraging for food once again.

I have probably whiled away two or three hours altogether, just watching, and waiting, for the perfect photo op, but … alas, they are much too quick for me, that is, until I had the good luck to capture the antics of one who strayed from the rest, and took a breather all by himself, thus the two photos above.

I knew they were swallows from the get-go, but I wasn’t sure the exact type of swallow until I Googled “images of swallows”. Of course, had I not been so lazy, I would have gone downstairs, and, at the very bottom of my desk drawer, I would have located my “Audubon Land Bird Guide”, the first hard-cover book I ever owned.  It has an orangey-red and white dust jacket with illustrations of various native birds.  The cover has become tattered and taken on an almost vintage-look through the years and the pages have similarly developed a yellowish tinge.  There are still pieces of loose-leaf paper, torn in raggedy strips, that were used as markers for various birds I came upon and viewed with my binoculars, back when I was a young “birder”.

So, now I wonder where these little beauties have disappeared to, because, they did delight me with their energy and delicate, almost tinny, birdcalls. If you want to see a sharper image of them, or listen to their birdsong, here is a link to do so:

When I took a tour along the California coastline back in the Fall of 1980, one of the tourist attractions we visited was the Mission San Juan Capistrano. It was a very old stone mission, made famous not only by its history and architecture, as well as its beautiful grounds, but, also because every March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day, the swallows return en masse to the Mission.  The arrival of the swallows like clockwork encourages visitors from around the world to congregate there on that very day to witness the miracle.  The swallows then build their nests right onto the cracks and crevices of the Mission walls and raise their young until all take flight again on October 23rd, an event known as the “Day of San Juan”.   I visited there in mid-October and saw many of the swallows that were nesting there and flying about, but I think the en masse arrival or departure would be a sight to behold, and, I wish I could have witnessed it.

Although I have been patient while hoping to get the perfect photo of the Ecorse Creek swallows, today I decided that the barn swallows at the borderline of Lincoln Park and Wyandotte have found another venue to delight onlookers. So, just like the faithful who annually gather at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, I will look for these beautiful winged creatures again next year.

It is awesome to behold Nature’s wonderment, though sometimes it is but a fleeting moment in time.

Today’s trip down Emmons Boulevard and one lap around Memorial Park netted five miles. It was such a beautiful day, and, there will be a third beautiful day tomorrow to conclude this Labor Day holiday weekend.

It was an equally beautiful weather day at the Vatican where Mother Teresa was canonized by Pope Francis today. For years, when I generated a daily “Thought for Today” for friends and co-workers, I often included many of her profound quotations … below is one I especially liked:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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4 Responses to The patience of a saint no longer.

  1. Majorie Aubin says:

    It’s Saint Mother Teresa. She was a beautiful soul. Swallows are beautiful birds. I really liked your post today. You really did some traveling.I would have been to San Juan.


    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, she was a beautiful soul – you’ll recall I often used her quotes in my “Thought for Today”. Those swallows are very beautiful, their coloring is so pretty. I did travel a lot back in the day … the California coast trip was one of my favorites – we started in San Francisco and ended up in L.A., with a one-day trip to Tijuana, Mexico. Actually been to San Juan, Puerto Rico as well – spent 10 days there with family friends in 1973 and went back there as a port of call for Panama Canal Cruise.


  2. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………we have Barn Swallows around here too………….they make their nests on the eaves of the car ports and when I walk on the road they bomb-bard me too……..thank you for acknowledging St. Teresa of Calcutta…………today……………..I went to hear her give a talk years ago in Toledo but never met her ………………………….I do like that quote we should make a poster with it and take it to a political gathering……………………….


    • lindasschaub says:

      They sure are beautiful birds aren’t they Ann Marie – not as cute and perky (and mischievous) as Digger and Buddy, but beautiful nonetheless. You were lucky to hear Saint Teresa speak … I have often admired her work and like her quotations very much. Yes, that quotation from yesterday’s post might quell the violence and harsh words at all the political gatherings, because it seems people think they can just say whatever they want to one another, without a care in the world which is very very sad.


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