Sunday, 11 January 2009

Swans in flight - nature's ballet

Swans in Flight
Image courtesy of 'Waterfowl Wallpaper'

A local swan - seconds after landing on the thawing ice

I don't know how serious writers manage but it seems to me that I sometimes spend quite a while with the seed of what I want to say lying dormant. Earlier today I had been walking back along the canal path looking out for the lone swan, spotted about half an hour earlier - it had been sitting on the ice, looking for all intents and purposes, stuck. It was nowhere to be seen so I assumed it managed to make its way up onto the bank on the far side of the canal ..... then I saw it. A swan in flight, it circled round and was flying back towards the canal. As it came into land, its great wings silently beating the air, it flew past me at head level. I fumbled in my pocket for my little digital camera but too late, the swan landed on the ice with balletic grace. The three youths I had just passed (with their scary looking dog) turned to watch with me - I was pleased to see the awe on their faces. We all smiled at each other, we were after all just people.

The first time I saw wild swans in flight was in Lincolnshire against a blue sky, the sight thrilled me and the image never left. More recently (a couple of autumns ago) at a local beauty spot I observed the magic of parent swans teach their grown cygnets to fly the length of the lake. Again I was unable to capture the moment on camera. A few mornings later I looked up to see five young swans flying west across the town - they turned out to be the same cygnets I had watched learn to fly.

Later this month I am going to see the loveliest of all ballets at our small local theatre, the Wyvern - Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky - here is the music, which will no doubt bring to mind one of nature's most wonderful sights. Swans in flight.