|Blue Tree Swallow|
|Blue on Blue|
|Blue Beside the Pond|
How carefully I folded the blank page, pressing each seam to create a point, wings and an under-body. It was fifth-grade or maybe fourth. I had a crush on the same boy in both grades so memories seem to bend like the paper folds. He could build paper airplanes that flew like tree swallows across the recess yard.
Shiny blue like a hot-rod with a metallic paint job, tree swallows ace aerobatics with fancy flying tricks. Nesting near water in a small colony, the air stream is alive with twittering flight. I try to follow with my camera, but miss tumbles and dives. I'm too slow.
Making paper airplanes, I'd hold my mouth open slightly crooked in concentration much the way I still do when trying to get the tree swallows to connect with my camera lens. No matter how many times the boy tried to show me, "Fold it this way," my paper airplanes still careened to the ground nose-first.
So I watch the tree swallows, the way I used to watch his soaring pointed paper. Sometimes, he'd notch back flaps for his planes. Watching the tree swallows, I see no such notches but observe a slightly forked tale. In flight, the birds seem to arc their wings to become part of a loop, tumbling feathers of iridescent blue.
I remember his hair was so blond, my paper airplane boy. In the sun it seemed to glitter like the wing of a tree swallow. Iridescence. Did I imagine that--gilding my memory of this boy who had engineering skills I tried so hard to replicate?
The tree swallows bring life to the skies just as the ducks, mergansers, turtles and frogs bring it to the pond. "Winter was so quiet," I say out loud to be heard above the chatter of it all.
As the tree swallows build nests in boxes lining my garden, I sit on the porch steps and begin to fold.
My latest crush flies like blue paper airplanes.