Sunday 18 November 2018

Dew, Swan and Peril

No, it's not the name of some trendy new gastro pub, the kind that serves food on the back of a shovel and posts cryptic signs on the lavatories. Instead, each word relates to something I saw when I went for a short walk yesterday morning. Was the swan in peril because of the dew? Well my friend, read on to find out.

It was a crisp start to the day, the kind where you might spend the first moments of your walk wondering if you'd class it as chilly or just about right. In the warming sunlight, it felt quite pleasant, but in the shadowy nape of the trees, it was goosebump time. The photo above shows a field peppered with dew. It doesn't really come out in the picture but all those droplets were catching the sunlight, making the green fronds almost crystal.

A short distance down the path, various dogs' ears scratched and a few "Morning"'s lighter (I carry them in a bag on my hip), I decided to take a selfie, hoping that light as lovely as this could even make me look half way presentable. I'm not sure it did, but nothing ventured, nothing pained. Gained.

I reached one of my favourite spots, a cut through from the path to the river that runs through the nearby fields. It's usually a bit dark and cool, but I hoped for the sunlight to at least make the river look inviting. Not in a "Let's jump in!" kind of way, more the "Hmm, that looks nice!" manner. It did look nice, and I spent many minutes watching the dead leaves fall from the trees around me, the ones that hit the surface of the water sending ripples scurrying from bank to bank.

It was about this time that I noticed lots of ripple activity further up stream, masked by the trees. The water in front of me was calm, but up there looked a little bit more energetic. It might have capsized a mouse on an acorn raft I guess, I don't want to over exaggerate. It was then that I saw a swan gliding in my direction. "Ooh!" I thought. I might have said it. Either way, a sparkle of excitement was felt. I promptly made my way down some of the slope to the bank while grappling with my phone. It was at this point that the small rectangle of plastic and metal flew from my fingers, taking a photo as it did so.

The phone hit the leafy ground and immediately slid, down, down, heading to the water. If you have seen those big slides at water parks where they don't just go down, but have corrugations, the kind that make people's backsides briefly leave the surface, you'll have an idea of what the bank was like. Bank isn't really the word, more a hill into a bank. Well my phone was sliding straight down it, and after a moment's hesitation I slide after it. It came to rest on the only part of the bank at water level in which the water didn't quite reach. My hand grabbed it as my own slide halted; I didn't really know what was under those leaves. Mud as it turned out.

It was at this time I noticed the swan again. He/she had gone nearer the far bank but was still approaching, obviously a bit concerned about this strange person rummaging in mud. I wiped my phone with my sleeve and set to filming, and then I saw more than I expected:

A whole swan family! What a nice surprise, one that I only noticed because I saw the ripples ahead of time and didn't turn away. Even the muddy slide down to the riverside was worth it, as I've not seen them from such a close proximity before. If I had to choose a favourite (and I know I have to), it would be the one at the back preening as it floats along. He/she just looks so chill. Once they had gone too far to film, I turned and realised that I had to work my way up the bank again.

The bank was sheer, all save one tiny piece that was just about reachable with my right leg. It was slippery (the bank, not my leg) but I managed to step my way up higher than I felt comfortable with. I'm happy to say that I don't think I pulled anything; my testicles are still hanging comfortably where they should, i.e low enough that I don't have a squeaky voice, high enough that I could (if I wanted to) wear shorts while commando and not be done for indecency. A result by anyone's standards.

So that was my walk, and here you are, reading about it. Thank you for taking the time to visit. I'm sure you clicked for the swans, but hey, maybe I can bask in their light a little? I think so.