The Swallow

When I was 8 years old I told my dad that I wished I was a swallow.

When he asked me why, I couldn't understand how he could not see their beauty. The way their feathers gleamed with the beautiful blue and their tails forked showing strength and an almost royal demeanour of pride and honour.

'Every winter they go away to South Africa to keep warm,' I told him. I wanted to go away to South Africa every year too, see my family there. 'They can fly 600 miles a day,' I remember squeaking at him.

My bedroom window looked out on farmland, fields and trees to the horizon. And I would stand at my window, a young girl, watching the swallows fly and dive above the woodlands below. I would always know when winter came because the trees would turn golden and the birds would leave, flying to warmer climates to wait out the British chill. Then, when spring returned, so would my birds. And then again I could stand and watch them hunt and hear them sing.

Swallows have always been special to me. For as long as I can remember I have worn a delicate swallow on a chain around my neck. They became a mantra of summer for me, of the cold hard times ending and the sun coming out again. My fight with cancer has been the lowest point I've ever been at, the coldest nights, the darkest days, but now that it's passing, summer returns. The swallows will come back. The sun's rays will fall again upon my happiness. So when I am sure I am in remission, when the doctors can turn around and say I am free again, I want to get a small tattoo of a swallow. Just something I can look at that will remind me of the battle I have faced, the darkest time in my life, and how the summer has returned, bringing the swallows with it.

True hope is swift and flies with swallow's wings. - Shakespeare