Two More Mouths to Feed

The winds blew fiercely last night. Lightening flashed. Thunder tumbled in the distance. Rain poured and stopped.

This morning, as golden sun lit every grass-held water droplet, and the kids finished their milking, Kyra found a couple of barn swallow chicks, blown from their nest, sitting and squawking on our manure pile.

All morning they nested in a hay-stuffed amazon box, eating worms my daughter dug from our yard. After a quick snack and quicker nap they would rise again, mouths open and squawking to be filled. Kyra responded, certain that they were calling for her, and so it seemed. “I’m their mother now,” she confirmed, and resumed her digging.

How can you not feed a hungry mouth? Kyra knows what it feels like to be hungry, and to be fed. She wants the chicks to live because she wants to live. Even more, Kyra wants the pleasure of being the one who cares for those chicks, who enables them to be. It is human.

Jessica arrived home in the afternoon, took stock of the situation and asked: “Do barn swallows eat worms?” I had just assumed. Don’t birds eat worms? We did some research. Actually, barn swallows are insectivores, though a number of sources recommended soggy cat or dog food. Worms could be toxic, if a parent has not had a chance to ingest it and clean it with stomach acid. Did our helping hurt? It is also human. We shall see.

What I see is life, working to continue along its avian path, through storm and stress, via the compassionate hearts of a bug-dangling nine year old and her vet-minded sister.

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