Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fowl weather?

When it comes to paddling on Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon, the ducks know that it is best to take heed of the swans. The other day, lured by carmel corn and bread, this graceful pair posed unabashedly for photos. By the way, a male swan is called a cobb , a female is a pen, and its young, a cygnet. Also, if you are wondering how to distinguish the sex of a swan, it is easier than one might think, even though males and females have similar color and plumage, the male swan is the only bird known to be endowed with a male appendage, according to a website I just read. (Not that I would want to pick one up and flip it over.)

On that note, I recall the famous Greek myth of Leda and the Swan. Leda was the young, beautiful queen of Sparta. Zeus coveted the lovely mortal and transformed himself into a swan. As she leaned near the water's edge to appreciate the romantic bird with its handsome curved neck and snowy feathers, the ruler of Olympus seduced her, and as a result, she bore Helen, who later becomes Helen of Troy. I suppose the story might suggest, among other things, that appearances can be deceiving or tells of the capricious hand of fate.

Whatever the case, the appearance of this exquisite animal on quiet water brings to the moment a magical feeling and a sense of serenity. The image of the swan inspires poets and lovers and children to express their thoughts on beauty, and its elegant presence transforms the mundane into the sublime.


Small City Scenes said...

A graceful pair indeed. I am sure the ducks stay out of their way.
Trumpter Swan and Tundra Swan winter over in the valley here---both Skagit and Stillaguamish--and are always very regal. They show up in October and are gone by March--heading back to Alaska and Siberia. A sight to see if you are this way then. MB

Jacob said...

I have heard that swans, while pretty, are really rather nasty birds. It's probably to your benefit you did not try to flip one over to check out "appendages."

When I looked (quickly) at this photo, I was going to say it was about time you got your ducks in a row! Swans in a row just doesn't do it so I didn't say that. Well, I did, but I didn't mean it. No, I meant it, but not that way.

Oh, forget it. Have a great day!

Raksha said...

Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
(W.B. Yeats, "Leda and the Swan")

Sylvia K said...

There was a pond near where I lived in Hillsboro where I would go to watch the swans and they are so beautiful. However, while it probably was a good idea to avoid flipping the male swan over to check for appendages, as Jacob said, I love your photo!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


tapirgal said...

So I learned something about male swans today. They couldn't be like pigeons, where you can tell by the shape of the h . . . well, never mind. They're quite gorgeous to watch swimming around. I saw a few open beaks, and wouldn't want to get much closer than that, but if you will flip one over, I'll take the photo of you.