Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The swans

Today I finally had a chance to go for a walk. I know, it was colder than yesterday, and what was snow was now a solid, foot-thick pavement of ice, but I had to get back to nature. It had been too long. And the nature I went to was not much of a departure, just a duck pond with some man-made improvements around it, and the highway buzzing just beyond the trees, but at least there were trees.

I walked around to the north side of the pond, where there's a bridge over a little creek. The ducks were gathered at the far end, a whole mess of them trying to scrounge for food in this winter wasteland. Among them were two swans, blaring in white from the brown mob. I wrote in my book, "The swan is the pond king." When I looked up, the swans, which had been over a hundred yards away, were floating towards me with some purpose. I felt like the royal entourage was going to have a look at me, and indeed they were. They came right up to where I was standing and gave me a good once-over. Maybe they thought I had food, but I know not to feed the animals, including myself, so I had none. They quickly lost interest, but poked around looking for any good eats at this end of the pond.

It amazes me how swans float so majestically, how they effortlessly slide their legs to glide across the water, and how they stand on their heads, basically, to try to find something at the bottom of the pond. I can only imagine things might be just out of reach for them; they can't go any lower than their neck will allow, being, I suppose, too buoyant to go under completely. One came up with a bit of pond muck on its beak. The other scraped at some bark from a fallen branch. Then they left to go back to their subjects. I left to find my own supper.

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