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Brother and the Martin Birds

Laura LoweHomes for Martin Birds

They were back. What a delightful sight and sound as the martin birds returned to the southeastern part of the United States in the spring. The martin birds are dependent on humans for their home. My daddy had already raised the poles with the gourds he had raised on it for the return. It was an annual ritual for him.

My younger brother would spend hours observing the birds. I have memories of him running around with a big leaf in his hand imitating the birds and their sounds. Years after we had grown up, I often thought that brother should have become an ornithologist.

Brother joined the Air Force directly out of high school. He was shipped off to Texas for basic training. He changed after joining the service. He and I were over-protected in our youth so perhaps it was inevitable that the world outside our family farm would hold an attraction and a desire to embrace a faster way of living.

The anniversary of Brother’s death has just passed. He died 12 years ago. He had developed prostate cancer and waited too late to accept the treatment offered. I still grieve for my only sibling. I still retain some of the anger I felt towards him for not doing better with his life. It was a life that held such promise.

During his tenure with the Air Force, he was stationed on one of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. It was an experience he did not wish to repeat so he departed the Air Force as soon as he could. He settled in Denver, Colorado. It was a state he loved. I grew to love the state too upon numerous visits out there. We would go dancing at some of the discotheques, drive up to the higher elevations, go hiking in the state parks and just have fun hanging out. On one excursion up to Estes Park he patiently waited while my sister-in-law and I went horseback riding for an hour.

Nothing reminds me of my brother more than the martin birds returning to the same nests they occupied the year before. How thrilled I was when I purchased a house in 2009 and the elderly neighbor’s yard boasted a couple of poles with gourds for martin birds. Every year the birds come back. I can observe them from my lounger in my back yard as they swoop around catching insects.

Perhaps in the other world there are many, many, homes for these birds and Brother is having a great time observing and interacting in some way with these beautiful little creatures. I know he is happy there …