Showing posts from March, 2009

Easter Swallows

As spring unfolds and the birds begin to sing I look forward to summer Swallows swooping over field and fen. Today we can trace the swallows’ journey from winter roosts outside Durban, through Africa and Europe to East Anglia’s marsh and meadow. It’s an amazing story and many of us are glued to our televisions when Springwatch and other TV programmes unfold the wonders of our natural world.

18th century naturalists supposed that swallows hibernated through the winter’s cold beneath the mud at the bottom of ponds, breaking forth from their earthy tombs for Easter days! Not an entirely silly idea! The first Swallows are usually to be spotted around Easter time and over or near water as they hoover-up bugs and flies.

Truer to our modern understanding of the Swallows migration is the ancient Egyptian myth in which the souls of the dead on the way to the stars are represented as swallows. Nearer to our own time is the Armenian folk tale in which swallows fly from the empty tomb with good new…