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A Walk in the Park

August 18, 2009

Today started just like any other day – the Chipmunk was bored, it was beautiful outside and we had some bread that was past the ‘edible’ stage.  Only one thing for it – time to head for the park to feed the ducks.  Suncream was duly applied, hat and sunglasses were donned, and off we went.  The walk to the park was uneventful – the Chipmunk chattering excitedly about the different temples of the Mayan civilisation and what they were used for, me staring in wonder at this remarkable child who finds it so easy to talk to his family, yet so hard to talk to others.  We arrived at the park and headed straight for the lake.  There were people cycling along the path, playing in the play area, walking their dogs and picnicking on the grass.  We crossed the whitewashed bridge and started to feed the multitude of ducks who had somehow tuned in to our arrival.  We were almost out of bread and getting tired of it being pinched by the seagulls and their chicks before the ducks could even get a look-in, so we decided to move on to another part of the lake.  We headed for one of the wooden ‘balcony’ structures that sit over the water.

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An elderly couple were just coming away from the structure, and they stood aside to let us pass.  We exchanged a pleasantry or two and made our way to the side of the balcony where we had a good view of the water and where Chipmunk would find it easy to drop the bread from.  There were not many birds on this part of the lake – in fact, we were about to move on.  And that’s when it happened.  Seemingly out of nowhere, a swan appeared – the Chipmunk identified it as a mute swan, which (as its name suggests) rarely communicates through ‘speaking’.  For a while the swan kept his distance – always watching but not approaching.  The Chipmunk stayed silent, gently dropping small pieces of bread into the water below the balcony.  The swan came closer.  The Chipmunk did not move.  The swan came closer still, until eventually this elegant, graceful creature was right in front of the Chipmunk, just below him in the water, catching the bread that the Chipmunk was dropping for him.

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There was something beautiful about the child who finds it so hard to communicate falling in love with the swan that doesn’t.  An almost perfect symmetry.  They were lost in the moment.  At the side of a boating lake, in a busy park on a gloriously sunny day – it was like there was nobody else in the world.  For ten minutes they stayed – the small boy with his slice of bread and the swan who had come to visit him.  Occasionally the swan would swim away, just a few feet, to collect a stray piece of bread that had floated off on the water.  Then back he came to his spot in front of the balcony, to sit in front of the Chipmunk and gaze at him once more.  He was not particularly bothered about the bread it seemed – indeed, even when it had all gone he stayed, the two of them sharing this moment of connection and understanding.  Finally, another family arrived to feed the ducks with the remains of their picnic lunch.  Excited children were jumping up and down and calling for the ducks, coots and even the seagulls to come and eat.  The Chipmunk and the swan exchanged a last glance, a farewell.  The swan swam away, back to the deep waters of the lake.  The Chipmunk and I went home.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. tndaisy1960 permalink
    August 18, 2009 14:41

    What a beautiful story! The interaction between boy and swan satisfied a need for both.

  2. August 18, 2009 14:45

    Beautiful. Somehow, I think wildlife understands and comes to those who connect with them – on levels we don’t recognize.

  3. August 18, 2009 14:49

    What a lovely job you have done of sharing a beautiful and personal yet somehow universal moment. You are a talented writer, you should do it more 🙂

  4. August 18, 2009 14:50

    Beautiful post, Hannah! I love learning more about your world this way!

  5. MysticFirefly permalink
    August 18, 2009 16:09

    You have an amazing writing style….what a beautiful day in the park!!

  6. August 18, 2009 16:46

    I am gobsmacked at the beauty of your writing! Carry on!

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