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Soaring with the Summer Swallows

summer swallow

You may have heard the famous proverb, “one swallow does not make a summer” meaning – a single fortunate event doesn’t necessarily mean that what follows will also be fortunate. In France and Italy they say the same phrase but swap Summer with Spring. Other variations on the theme include: “One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; meaning one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy. Similarly, this from the proverbs of Erasmus in the 1500s “It is not one swalowe that bryngeth in somer. It is not one good qualitie that maketh a man good.” Anyway, you get the idea. It’s basically a proverb that cautions against too much optimism or getting carried away in any given situation.

Well, here at the Bumbumbee studio we have any number of swallows making their appearance. We are throwing caution to the wind because we most definitely have the Summer ‘feels’ here so plenty of reason for optimism and all good things.

Here in the UK, the swallow is a welcome visitor, arriving in April and leaving us in October. On migration or after breeding they can be observed in large numbers, chattering away on overhead wires, or roosting in reed beds. It’s quite an incredible feat when you realise they migrate 6,000 miles all the way from southern Africa and over the Sahara Desert to reach our shores.

These beautiful birds are glossy, dark blue-black above, white below with a dark red forehead and throat and a black band across the chest. One of their most distinctive features is their exceptionally long forked tail.

There’s a lot of symbolism around swallows. They represent breaking out of your comfort zone to experience different things in life. Overall, the free-flying bird represents mindfulness and faithfulness, which people can bring into their commitment to family and loved ones. The Celts saw the swallow as a connection to ivy, making it a wise bird that drew knowledge from plants, animals, and trees.  I love the idea that I felt compelled to illustrate this group on a flight of fancy – perhaps there is a message in here for us all.

At the start of 2022 I remember when the Pantone of the Year was announced, ‘PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri’ invited us to be courageous and bold – to step out of our creative comfort zones.

I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do with these swallows yet, but perhaps they would make an excellent motivational card or artwork. Do you have any thoughts, dreams or plans that would require you to step out of your comfort zone? Have you achieved something this year that meant you experienced or learned something completely different?

Well, I’ll get back to work on these swallows. Keep a look out for them making their appearance in the online store or at the Market soon.

In the meantime, if there is something in your life you have been umming and ahhing about – take the message from the swallow – be bold and step out of your comfort zone. You never know where it might lead.

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