Caring for Swans ... a reflection

by JOHN BAKER

The word creation can mean just another secular word for nature or of the accomplishment of some kind of creative endeavour. The two meanings more or less came together in
my life when I was ‘hooked’ on swans. It all began when I was walking through Holyrood Park during one particular winter. I passed St Margaret's Loch, which was extensively covered in
thick ice. I noticed a man slowly inching forward onto the ice as a lady held a rope which was attached to him. I could see something fluttering in a panic way out on the shiny ice. It was
a swan and it was trapped. The man had a long pole with a hook on the end. He almost lost his balance as he thrust out the pole and seized the poor bird with the hook on its end. He
struggled back to the safety of the rocky perimeter and handed the swan to the lady. They put it in a kind of special jacket with a handle and quickly put it in the back of a van. I was close by, being rather nosey. I found out that the man was a swan ringer and that the lady was employed by an animal welfare charity. We got talking, and little did I realise that we would meet many times and experience what I can only call adventures.

Those two, rescued swans on brilliant moonlight nights and often I helped in some small way. They rescued swans in sweltering Summers when a hundred or more people sunbathed under the scorching sun. Perhaps I am being rather judgemental about the peculiar lack of interest as our little dramas unfolded. Ice cream and ice lollies and barbecues all around. It made me realise how unaware many people are or whether they even care. Someone tripped on a
sick swan laying on the pavement and another let their Rottweiler off its lead. I heard on the grapevine that its owner thought that their dog was just being playful. Alas my favourite
swan was bundled into the van to be rushed to intensive care unit over in Fife. She recovered and was released near a caravan site way down the East coast never to be seen again.  I soon realised that I was becoming very attuned to nature. I noticed the wonderful cherry blossom and apple blossom blowing into a pond. One day I stayed until evening twilight.
The brilliant full moon was shining on about one hundred swans. They were so intensely ivory white in the shimmering water. The Evening Star, Venus, was right there and it was so
bright that it was being reflected. The whole scene was breathtakingly beautiful, almost transcendental.

I have, through the years, thought a little about writing about these events down. I have a huge amount of statistical information which is like the framework or skeleton for a story
that has yet to be written. Creative Writing?

(photograph by John Baker)