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Watching the swallows and swifts

- Teachers Talk

Every spring, it’s always a special joy to welcome the summer visitors back to the United Kingdom from Africa—the swallows, swifts, and house martins.

It’s astonishing to think of the distance these birds have covered on their migration, which is so far beyond the realm of familiar garden birds. Their powers of navigation are legendary. It’s remarkable to think that the swifts fly from South Africa, actually sleeping as they fly, by adapting their wing shape. They often don’t land at all for two years, eating flying insects and skimming over smooth lakes for water. They only land to roost in their European nests. This reminds me of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “God rests in action” (p. 519).

While I was watching a lone swallow last spring, it struck me that the bird hardly seemed to flap its wings at all. It is designed to perfection for gliding and using the air currents rather than its own effort. And its speed is quite extraordinary! I was inspired by its economy of movement—its seemingly effortless dominion of the skies.

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