And just like that, in the blink of an eye, it seemed to Emory, the Summer leaves were turning Red and Gold, and the cygnets downy fluff had turned magically into feathers! It had been a glorious Summer; the wet chill of late Spring long forgotten, the swans soaked up the Sun to get them through yet another Winter.

the three brothers, Cami not included or invited in this preen

Emory found it difficult to tell the young ones apart, unless they were all together. Sal would always be largest and Cami smallest, and the brothers Cinny and Cori, were about the same size and always together. No one paid much attention to Cami, which made Em sad, so she tried to be extra sweet to her. Even Bella seemed impatient with Cami’s following after her. Poor girl just wanted to fit in. William adored her, but William was often rushing off in defense of their territory. But when it was nap time, Cami found her daddy, before anyone else, and snuggled up beside him. She thought her father was the most magnificent swan that ever lived, and she hoped that he would live forever. Certainly in her heart, and one day in the babies she might bring into the world, Cami thought, as she dozed beside her father. Lost in her fantasy, Cami failed to realize that the reality for female cygnets is harsh. Alone, they are unable to protect themselves from danger. They must be smart and observant and speedy quick to get away. It will be many more weeks before the children’s wings will sustain them in the air, but their wings are a great gift.

Cami and William, napping together
Cami, top, Cinny, Sal, Cori
William’s wings (or, wanna hug?)

Emory came flying through the leaves and said, “I’m afraid I woke everybody with my clomping boots! I’m sorry! But I brought you some corn oatmeal!” Em said brightly. “Hooray!” the four sang out together, while their parents smiled and hung back, waiting for their children to have their fill. Not many people know that swans are the most excellent parents of most any creature on the planet! (only once, Emory had a surprise visitor in the woods. A woman came up behind Em as she was sitting with the swans, William nibbling at her shoe (swans nip those they love. William chewed tiny holes in all Em’s boots, so they were no longer waterproof!) and said quite meanly, “Swans are very aggressive! You shouldn’t get so close!” Emmy bit her lip so she wouldn’t laugh. That would be rude. She turned around and calmly said to the frightened woman, “William and I are friends. He would never hurt me. Indeed, I seem to be part of his family!” “How do you know his name is William?” asked the curious woman. “Ah, his mother told me,” said Em with a twinkle in her smile.

shoe biter, William
Little Big Wings

Photographer, Poet, Musician, Mother, Mystic, Gardener, friend of wild creatures, swan whisperer. Find me on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wingthing/