The other day I completed my very first 50 mile bike ride in 4 hour and 45 minutes. Along with every single muscle in my body (even some that I didn’t know existed) was the feeling of great accomplishment. On the way home, it was rough but so worth it, being able to say I pushed through and rode 50 miles, 50 MILES! It seems so much farther when I think about it. I just can’t help but get excited.
25 miles out, the turning point of my ride I saw a beautiful thing. 25 miles out eventually you get to some point of the Fox River. This time I”m in the middle of two towns. On this path south, especially in this area, there are hills and hills and bigger hills. Once you get down one hill you are already half way up the next hill. Let me tell you, your legs would probably be getting ready to jump right off your body, but it’s a rewarding feeling knowing that even after riding almost 25 miles you can still make it up those hills.
Finally I head down a hill and see the ground start to level out, no more hills and it is an incredible relief (no matter what type of emotional reward I get).
Now at this point, stretched out in front of me are two bridges, the first about twice as long as the second, going over the river and it is simply beautiful. There are so many swallows (Tree and Barn Swallows) flitting and darting around, catching every insect in sight or sitting perched on the wires above my head. It’s really an amazing sight to see. They’re so incredibly graceful and quick in their movements, almost like they are a robot on a track, but their movements are too smooth, there’s really no comparison except to a dolphin, gliding through the water.
They leap through the air, gliding around in circles and with one rapid movement of their wings they are headed straight up in the sky, right by my head only to turn their body and splash back down through the air toward the river.
Like dolphins they are curious, so curious they’ll fly right around you so close you can feel each flap of their wings and if you ride your bike fast enough, they’ll come up on the bridge and just glide along with you, like dolphins do in front of boats. Needless to say swallow are my favorite bird, everything about them, how graceful they are but still so powerful in their movements, pin point turns, their speed.
What it would be like to be a bird, a swallow, they way it would feel to have the wind rushing by you, knowing you’re not limited, borders have no control over you. To us a border defines you, who you are, who your family is, which side of a border you are allowed to be on. Especially now, boarders seem to really be defining who we are as people, whether we are good or bad.
It’s sad to me that, all other problems aside, because it seems we are beginning to define the quality of a person by a border and their quality of a life. That shouldn’t be dictated by a border. It’s easy to think that, safe in your country, in your home with food and your family, so easy to just limit it to a story and not exand it to being an actual person, a real, live, breathing, loving, beautiful person. It’s easy to not think about the people and only think of a border.
For birds, borders don’t exist. They’ll fly from north pole to south pole, stop in Canada, Europe, U.S., they don’t need a passport or 100 forms of identification, they just fly to get where they need to go. It doesn’t matter what other birds are there, they just fly and dive and glide.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch swallow, watch them climb higher and higher into the sky and dive back down, just like a dolphin. I don’t think there’s any border in the world that could cage in these beautifully, graceful birds, and I’m grateful for that. knowing there’s at least one thing that can’t be defined by where it came from.