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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Way of the Swan

Early this morning, I pulled my car into the parking lot at a nearby park. I plopped my headphones on, dialed my iPod to Amy Grant’s newest CD “Somewhere Down the Road,” and then descended the steps toward the pond and the walking trail.

One of the first things I saw was graffiti plastered on a small pavilion. As I took my first steps around the pond, it was hard not to miss the trash the pond was expelling among its banks. As I made the second turn, more graffiti – this time it was spray painted on the walking trail.

The unpleasantries were abrasive and irritating. But at the same time, I understand that people who are broken and hurting on the inside tend to break and hurt on the outside.

IMG00130 As I turned the third corner (can you tell I’m a NASCAR fan?) I encountered three swans (at least I think they were swans – could’ve been ducks for all I know – correct me if I’m wrong). One of them seemed to prefer the pavement to the grass.

IMG00135He stayed on the walking path until I was just a few feet away from him; then he joined his family or friends down in water. They sailed peacefully to the other side and then got out. By the time I got there they were gone. I was hoping to get one last glance at them, but I got more than that.

IMG00142I spotted them again on my final lap. One of them led me back up the trail toward the parking lot as if to say, “I’m in charge here, follow me.”

I followed.

When I reached the parking lot, all three swans were there. I stopped for a minute to shoot a few more pictures of them with my Blackberry.

Then they started squawking. Were they saying good-bye? Or good riddance? Or were they talking about me in swan-eese? I have no idea, but I did shoot a video of their conversation with my Blackberry. The quality isn’t the greatest, so you can't really see them, but you can definitely hear them.

As I drove away, I couldn't help but think redemption was at work in the park in the form of the swans. Even the water itself was dislodging the trash.

I came home and googled the word "swan." I found this on Wikipedia, "Perhaps the best known story about a swan is 'The Ugly Duckling' fable. The story centres around a duckling that is mistreated until it becomes evident he is a swan and is accepted into the habitat. He was mistreated because real ducklings are, according to many, more attractive than a cygnet, yet cygnets become swans, which are very attractive creatures. Swans are often a symbol of love or fidelity because of their long-lasting monogamous relationships."

Ironically, the park is being mistreated by people who do not have any sense of the redemption happening right in front of their eyes. Here's to hoping the swans continue to walk and swim and squawk as constant reminders.


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