Hard to Swallow

I made many fine friends during my decades on Lark Hill, but top billing must go to Wilfrid and Cecilia. They didn’t say much, and when I asked their opinions they just sat on the fence, but they know a thing or two about what’s in the air. They sanitise the stuff we breath, sifting out invertebrates and, it is not commonly known, digesting viral infections. Swallows are summer visitors, and they will fly five thousand miles, and they will fly five thousand more, to keep Coronavirus from your door.

They spend most of their lives on the wing. It was a particular delight, during coffee breaks, to watch Wilfrid, Cecilia, their siblings, progeny, and many times ancestors, tumbling down Lark Hill without ever touching it, swooping and soaring at seemingly supersonic speed. Sometimes they’d be hundreds of feet high, sometimes fingertips from the grass blades. Their victims have no chance, slammed by a speeding gullet.

Wilfrid (nearest the camera) and Cecelia

There is absolutely no question that swallows catch and kill Covid-19.  Just look at the data. The peaks of infection are inversely proportioned to the prevalence of this migratory bird. When they arrived in the UK last April cases began to fall, and when they left again in September the second lockdown loomed. We made the mistake of easing that while the swallows were still abroad, and hence got hit harder still.

Swallows are the reason that it’s much safer to mix outside.  They rarely fly indoors, which just goes to show: it’s much more risky to congregate where swallows never go.

Church notice in Bamburgh, England

People will claim it will be vaccines that will do the trick, but Wilfrid and Cecelia know otherwise.  They’ll be back in the spring, just wait and see. Infections will fall when swallows soar.  Be patient, they’ll set off soon, from sifting the air down by the Cape of Good Hope, where they are sometimes known as the South African Strain.

Lark Hill

(N.B. The scientific claims in this post have not yet been peer reviewed, but the Corvids are working on it.)


How to be a buzzard:

Thirteen weeks was not a long time in which to learn how to transform oneself into a bird of prey. He had achieved it. Now he must learn how to fly.  He would throw himself from the tree and hope for the best. 

A soaring story in The Atheist’s Prayer Book

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