A Preface

When Rich and I need some peace and quiet to remember what we’re all about we try to get out to Wit’s End. This is the little cottage on Cedar Lake, about 45 minutes from home. It takes us away from the demands and stress of work and traffic and kids, answering machines and stacks of mail. Wit’s End was mine before it was ours and I still have a few mixed feelings about sharing the place- like a child with a favorite toy, torn between keeping it for herself and sharing with her best friend.

We came out last night and here’s something disturbing that happened. The sun was brilliant, especially on the remaining snow and broken ice of the lake. You know from previous posts that the mute swans who live on the lake are favorites of mine. Each year there are two pair- one at the north end in the marsh grass and one at the south. But the lake is small and the males are aggressive about their space so sometimes there’s some jostling that goes on before things settle into the the lascivious rituals of Spring.

This year I have been watching the original pair plus one of their youngsters, throughout the winter. When we arrived yesterday, it was clear the youngster had found a mate. Throughout the afternoon there was low flying back and forth- maybe within a couple feet of the surface. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to capture a picture for you because they are quite majestic and large, but the glare and movement were too much for my skills. At some point we actually heard loud flapping and just as we looked there was a midair collision. The father and son crashed together, wrestled briefly and then the youngster fell to the ice as the father flew off. Here are two out of focus pictures of the unhappy result.

Swan2Swan1The young swan limped slowly across the ice, dragging one leg and one wing. It was almost too painful and sad to see but I got out the scope and watched. He hobbled along until he hit the edge of the ice and then he slipped into the water and moved nearer his mate. As the sun went down he was still and quiet in the water and I was worried he wouldn’t make it through the night. Because the lake is half frozen and half thawed and the boats remain covered it was pointless to think about a rescue of sorts. And pretty much against the course of nature, for that matter.

I have a confession. I’ve been wandering. Beyond the ‘hood. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve been by your place but not always stopped to say hello- and I’m sorry. But it started with Florida Cracker– I had good reason, given the St. Pete.bungalow, to be curious about Florida stuff. And then it spread- to Pablo and Wayne and Rurality…and discussions about trees and rocks and scat and now, watersheds. I love a good watershed post. Watersheds are the source of nearly everything. People don’t always know a lot about the watershed they live in. Do you have stoneflies in yours? Stay tuned…

(postscript: this morning when we woke up the lake had mostly closed back up with ice. The young pair of swans was sitting, side-by-side, tucked into balls of white on the ice. They looked very cold but definitely alive. We shall see.)

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16 responses to “A Preface

  1. There is nothing quite like a good scat conversation!

  2. Oh, poor swan. That hurts my heart. I hope, hope, hope that time and rest will heal. In such a magical place as Wit’s End all things are possible.

  3. I’m flying out there this weekend to take the swan to the vet.

  4. I hate to see animals suffer. You feel so powerless to help. Driving home one night, we passed a deer by the side of the road. Apparently, he had been hit and was injured for he was half-sitting, half-lying but still moving his head and looking around. So sad. Later, he was gone, so maybe he was only stunned.

  5. Best wishes to the swan. I predict recovery.
    Thanks for the mention!

  6. I’m glad to hear the swans are ok. And I know its mean but I wouldn’t mind these freaking canadian geese to fall through the ice on the pond behind my place. I know… I’m mean. But they are evil!!!

  7. Thanks for visiting my Journal. A great post; swans do suffer, don’t they?

  8. You going to do a watershed map like the Cracker did? Big job, it seems to me.

    Do you have stone flies? If you have stone flies, you have fish. Therefore, if you have fish, you have stone flies. Almost everybody has got stone flies, you silly.

  9. Wow, the lake sounds fantastic! I hope the swan recovers to full form!

  10. WEATHER UPDATE ALERT CATASTROPHE EVENT: Northwest Tennessee, heavy snow and colder than a witch’s boob. Beautiful. ^j^

  11. You really capture nature in amazing ways. I love your pictures Vicki.

  12. I’ll say a little prayer for the swans. You made them so real to all of us.

    I dropped in from Michele’s, and I’ve got to say that your site is a wonderful read. Looks like I’ve got some exploring to do.

  13. You do that, Carmi, you will be enchanted!

    Vicki, thanks so much for the sweet comments about the flowers, and the family too. Pearl was a sad sack, no doubt about it. She was an old maid who never left home; lived with her parents until they died and then she went soon after.

  14. The story of the swans really got to me. I’m glad they seem ok and glad you were there to note their existence. And thanks for your kind comment. Its nice to be able to vent and have some reassuring pats on the shoulder wing through cyberspace. If I had a better coat, I’d get out to wits end too cause in a way or two, I’m there already. Thanks, Vicki.

  15. I’ve been thinking about your injured swan off and on since I stopped by yesterday. How are the young ones doing?

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