Today at the Cove

The less you know about swans, the more beautiful they are. A pair of the gorgeous birds in a New England waterway similar to my local cove in East Greenwich, RI.

The less you know about swans, the more beautiful they are. A pair of the gorgeous birds in a New England waterway similar to my local cove in East Greenwich, RI.

Today at the cove, I learned that there is a more significant population of swans than I had realized before. I counted 50 of them, but some were distant. I will try to confirm the count in the days to come.

It often seems to me that birds have a sense of impending weather. The swans looked keen to take all the food they could, submerging their heads, with their tails skyward, gorging ahead of tomorrow’s snow and bitter cold.

Texas Rowing Center, Austin: where and how swans and I fell temporarily out of love

Texas Rowing Center, Austin: where and how swans and I fell temporarily out of love

When my family and I lived in Texas, I worked at a rowing club while I finished Don’t Sell Your Coat. Part of the duties included cleaning up after a family of swans that considered the club’s docks to be their own, which they expressed by crapping merrily all over the place. We would wash off their leavings with bucket after bucket of river water. That was one reason I got over the romance I’d once held for the animal.

Another: their habitual viciousness toward one another, toward rowers out on the water, and toward people on the dock. Swans are good subjects for ballets, but less fun to relax with up close, it turns out.

Nonetheless, today at the cove, with a southwest wind up, a few thin clouds, and a sense of change in the air, I couldn’t help but love the swans I saw once more bobbing in the dappled extension of the Atlantic Ocean that we call the cove. How quickly we humans forget.

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About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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