Paddling with the company of a Swan

May 24th, 2009, 2:36pm

The title to this entry is not a symbol nor a play of words. This morning I decided to take a trip through the Nissequogue. It's close to home and always a pleasant trip. While paddling I got to see some graceful breathes of Spring as I witnessed a Doe with a fawn, Swans coasting in the breeze with their wings cradled just right to coast, Canadian Geese with their little hatchlings waddling around, a couple of Robins attacking a hawk from being to close to their nest and a few Egrets nesting here and there. But all of this grace was nothing compared to my remaining trip. As I reached a 3 mile stretch, I decided to turn back. Primarily because I left my water bottle in the car! Anyway, I pulled over to a marshy spot just so I can adjust the backrest on my kayak. As soon as I turned around to move on, there is a Swan looking at me playfully only 4 feet away. Wow. What does he want? Food? Doesn't look like it. Any way, I paddle onward to head back and say "bye" to the swan as I head off. Strangely he seemed to continue to follow me. Not behind to me! I found this interesting and funny. At first I thought the swan was hinting that I leave his nest but he was in no way aggressive. Instead he swam next to me calm and content as he blinked slowly and move onward with me sometimes closing his eyes and enjoying the company. As we continued to paddle together he (or she?) stayed only 2 to 4 feet away from me. My paddle was not his concern. I paddled gently and talked to him calmly as if I was talking to an old friend. He seems to really like the conversation. No joke! As we paddled onward, I would move over to give him room whenever we found a streak of river scum or reeds floating along the river. He seemed to really appreciate this because he too avoided these parts of the water. In turn he also would move to make room for me!!! No BS! The whole time people stared at us in awe. Then it got really interesting. As we reach a bend, the swan spotted two dogs on the shore line. He immediately grunted with this soft tone and looked right at me concerned and slowed down to a stop. I did the same and then talked to him calmly saying "it's ok"..."it's ok.". He seemed to understand because he then docked next to me against my kayak and started to move forward with me. As we past the dogs, he stay to my right side as the dogs were on the left shore. It was a little tricky to paddle now because he is literally next to my hips! This was amazing. He trusted that I defend him. We continued to paddle together up to about 2.1 miles total until we reached a park near the Sweetbriar Farm park. They he quacked at me gently and moved off to the shore as if he said "so long and thanks for the company."

I kid you not. 2.1 miles paddling with a Swan. I don't think I can ever forget this. I was tempted to grab my camera from the day hatch but I did not want to ruin the moment just in case it startled him.

There is no way this trip can ever be forgotten. For those 45 minutes, that swan and I were pals. Literally, the barrier of species was lifted for that one trip. Even the tough boys with the dogs (a pit bull and a terrier) were in awe. I'm telling you. This was incredible. The most calmest paddle I have ever experienced yet the most magical. Even the Canadian geese looked at the Swan with such curiosity like "What on earth are you doing with a human?"

If you ever get such an opportunity, please, just enjoy it. Don't ruin it for a photo or something for proof. Just be in the moment.


Paddling with the company of a Swan


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