The other day I thought of people who operate in large groups. I imagine that it can be advantageous because they work collectively to achieve one goal. And then, on the second thought, I thought of them as tree swallows.
When I lived closer to the lake, I watched them land on the trees and move swiftly like a swarm of bees in a quick, rapid motion. The movement could be compared to a dance as they took on odd shapes and carved out geometric designs as they went about their business.
The more I thought about them, I knew that it was time to Google the tree swallows and see what they were really all about. They did not appear on the trees outside my window often, but when they did, anyone would stop and take notice of this unusual phenomenon.
After reading, I understood. Ecologically, they thrive near bodies of water. That checked out because I lived very close to the lake when I saw them in action. They feed on insects. That also checked out because they were making their swirly movements as they moved from one tree to the next.
So, they were feasting. Who knew? They were eating up the insects and bugs on the trees which were plentiful that season. They must have received an SOS saying, “Dinner over here!”
I don’t know how they communicate amongst themselves. Maybe, there is some hidden leader of the flock, but their fast change in moving patterns led me to think that one of them was calling the shots. The others followed that lead.
I finally found an article by Michael Burke called “Swallows chaotic maneuvers part of precise feeding flight.” His explanations published in The Bay Journal helped answer many questions about something that I had witnessed with curiosity.
The tree swallows were simply doing what all living creatures do. They were eating to stay alive. Burke wrote, “With dazzling precision, these tree swallows demonstrate that it is possible to navigate in a world of seeming chaos. They do more than simply survive. They thrive and do so with grace.”
All of us don’t travel in large groups nor move with the dance of the tree swallows but,our missions are all the same. Survival. Whether meandering through life accompanied by a large pact or flying solo, “The best tomorrow comes from those who are working independently toward a goal in unison.” (James Cash Penney)
October 21, 2015