Yesterday a large flock of Tundra Swans landed on our Wetland Preservation Area. What a beautiful sight! The birds were passing through on their annual migratory path, in route to their summer nesting grounds in the high arctic tundra. They will feed and rest here overnight before heading north again. I was thrilled to be able to snap a few pics in the late afternoon. These lovely creatures are quite wary and not wanting to spook them I made certain to keep a respectful distance while capturing their startling essence amid the reeds and cattails.
My partner, who had spotted the birds first, was just as excited as I to view the wonder that floated so serenely on the just thawed water below our house. We drove as close as we could in our old pickup before I jumped out and crept stealthily up on my unsuspecting photo prey. Wow, what a gift!
Other migratory travelers have made their presence known lately as well. Red Winged Blackbirds arrived in the hundreds this past couple of weeks, females first, and now large flocks of males. Last evening our big Box Elder tree, Chief, was filled with music as the males sang in carefully pitched and harmonized chorus. It was quite amazing, like a whole orchestra of tiny, silvery bells and whistles directed by some ancient and masterful nature spirit.
Yes . . . the songs of birds are all around us now, and even though we just received a few more inches of snow the rites of spring have obviously begun in earnest. Even the silent swans have their own secret songs, known only to others of their kind, and perhaps those of us who stop to listen with something other than ears and mind.
Swan Song . . .It is interesting to note that the normally nonvocal Tundra Swan has an additional tracheal loop within its sternum that seems to prove true the "myth" of the musical and haunting cry that this magnificent creature has been observed to make upon dying.
Perhaps we all have our own swan songs to express as well. Maybe, as we move through the nuances of this amazing life that we have been given, there comes a time to sound that hidden soul-voice that has lain dormant for so long. To let out our cry of release and transformation, to die to the bonds of the past and begin anew, wonderously reborn.
Swans have traditionally represented the ability to awaken to your own inner beauty and self expression (the tale of the Ugly Duckling). Swans are fiercely loyal, protective, mate for life and are known for their longevity, often living into their seventies or eighties. As well as being an ancient symbol for poets, mystics and bards, the swan is said to be a powerful messenger from the dream world who has come to speak to us of harmony, grace, balanced perception and innocence.
Swan sings her mythic song and holds us captivated with her wild, white beauty . . . If you could sing one last song, what would it be? What would you say or do? Swan tells us, "Don't wait . . .the time is now."
Peace and Wonder, SvG