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Cygnets

 

As it has for many people, Netflix's documentary The Social Dilemma has rocked me back on my heels a bit and caused me to rethink my engagement with social media. I've also been reading Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now . OK. I'm kind of getting the point. So instead of browsing Facebook,  I pick up my cameras and head for Tomahawk.

The lagoon is covered in little swan families: mum, dad and the kids all busy breakfasting on duckweed. 

Each of the many dozens of families has a half dozen or so cygnets. They vary in size, according to their age but with their little fluffy bodies and beady little black eyes they are irresistibly cute. 

Their parents feed them by plucking weed from the bed of the lagoon - growing at depths beyond the babies' reach,- and dumping it down before them. The little guys wolf it down before it slowly sinks. 
They are covered in a hairy down, which seems to be easily soaked. Occasionally they sit on the backs of a parent, but mostly they bob about on the surface. 
I can't quite fathom the anatomy of their legs. There always seems to be one leg out of the water, so the cygnet is floating on its side somehow. I suppose this conserves body heat. 
They know how to swim. They know how to feed. They know when to rush to their parent. They are only a few days old. Within the year they will know how to fly and within two years they will be raising babies of their own. How do they know this stuff? What does "knowing" and "intelligent" mean? We have captured those words and made them into our human way of learning and understanding, but here that understanding doesn't fit. Here are little points of consciousness, each viewing the universe and each of them an "I".
 
Consider the birds of the air...  

These are all known and loved, as I am known and loved. Exactly as I am known and loved. 


I watch them for a couple of hours. I don't get out of my car, as the car acts as a kind of hide, and the birds are more confident about approaching me when inside it than if I was standing on the shore. But even encased in my coccoon of painted tin, I am strangely refreshed and enlivened by their company. I watch the families moving over the surface of the water, and for a while I am drawn into their little society with all its complexity and violence and beauty.  I take photos. Lots of photos. 

Then I return home. Edit the pictures. And post some on Facebook. 


Comments

Elaine Dent said…
"Return...edit...post." And we who weren't there are glad you did. In spite of the hazards of social media to our souls, your photos of swans are redemptive.
Greg said…
Lovely photos Kelvin. Keep them coming !

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