Swanning around

Sunday 1st May 2011

“SOUL food.”

She’s right: the white-petal blossoms; water winking at sunlight; so many shades of green.

And then, the swan. Upstream centre, swimming towards us, sovereign and courteous, earnest but unhurried. An entourage of small ripples. A gliding under the bridge, under our feet.

Nothing is said while we watch the procession of one. Neither of us has a camera to reach for, which pleases me. It’s been that sort of a day.

Bye bye, wavy bunting. We’ve gone hunting that older meaning of ‘remote’. And bluebells and somewhere to picnic. A discreet party, you might say, with trestle tables banned from view.

“I know of a lake. There’ll be nobody there, except maybe Rob,” I’d suggested. “He’s an unpaid, one-man guardian of local wildlife. There’s a rock we can sit on.”

Which we did.

Greylag geese gathered, waiting for us to unpack sandwiches. Once they realised we weren’t titbit-sharing tourists, they turned tails and wandered about, just being geese. The tiny gosling in their midst padded fearlessly from exciting crack in the ground to awesome patch of bare sand. We are both grandparents. We know how to be enthralled by the small.

“I’ve never been to Edinburgh,” she confesses.

“Most teachers are convergent thinkers,” I declare.

We also take in travel, technology, old friends, neural pathways. Rob doesn’t appear. Probably elsewhere in the Forest, looking out for boar, checking on adders. Although the track back is hard and dry, there’s not the tightness in my legs that pavements induce.

The crafts centre is open. I scribble lines over an organic cuppa, while she buys herbs and potters round the pottery.

“Lydney Harbour?”

“Oh yes.”

The Severn plays with history and imagination. A noticeboard displays tide times for mariners. The walk takes us over lock gates and past red standing stones. We have found our own good way of celebrating Englishness.

And then the solo swan, swimming, searching.

“Definitely looking for something. Don’t swans mate for life?”

We walk on, into the evening.

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3 Responses to Swanning around

  1. Rob says:

    Time goes by, but you never forget. You never forget the moments, which inspire!
    Special places are to be shared with special people and I am glad that I was able to share “My Rock” with a very special person.

    As I sit and watch with eyes glaring
    Tensed and gnarled like an oak
    The buzzard soaring high, daring
    looking through the water, I feel broke.

    I close my eyes and listen quietly
    There are many places I have been
    A paser-by whispers politely
    Asking what I have seen

    The walkers, the joggers, some think it’s a race
    The beauty, it makes my heart ache
    I could talk for hours about this place
    From the snakes and the boar, to the deer and the drake.

    For I am Rob…

  2. Caz says:

    Seems idyllic, good for you :-)

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