Saturday, 20 March 2010

Forth and Clyde Canal part 2 - Swans

You will usually see swans on the Forth and Clyde Canal, and I got quite pally with this family one summer. One late afternoon, returning from the office, I found the parents and their two young grooming themselves, and sat down besdie them to watch
They make beautiful  shapes while grooming, like fluid Hepworth sculptures

Swans mate for life and have always been symbols of fidelity, but we have never observed them that closely - people used to be convinced that they ate fish, for example
How can they do that?
Proud parents
Swan courtship is surely the loveliest in nature
This pair spent a good hour paddling in partnership. . .
. . .making gestures of devotion. . . 
. . .with occassional balletifc poses
 The pair would occasionally stop and do a sort of conjoined wheelie, making circular patterns in the water
The family amid sparkles on the water

I remember stopping to check my pannier to make sure I had remembered to bring something for an office meeting - something about the revision of the  Complete Shakespeare it was - and this charming trio emerged from the mist round the bend. . .

. . .I was reminded of Yeats' account of Gogarty promising the Liffey a pair of swans if he survived assassination. Whatever gods inhabit these canal waters, I'm sure they also love their swans 
A deserved rest

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