Yesterday was June the 21st, the longest day of the year; the Summer Solstice. The day with the most sunshine and the official commencement of Summer according to the Gregorian Calender. Exactly six months ago, I visited the infamous ‘Swan Lake’ with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of coming face to face with; well you guessed it, a Swan. I was eager to see one in the wild, just chilling in its natural habitat, away from the grind of everyday city life . I had only previously seen them in captivity. Well as it turned out, I didn’t get to see any swans and was rewarded instead with a chance to see many, many geese. I was happy none the less . But Swan Lake kind of felt incomplete without the Swan part to me.
So, I decided to re-visit Swan Lake in pursuit of those ever-so-elusive swans and I thought to myself “What better date to pick than the longest day of the year itself; more sun, more fun !” I knew it was going to be a long hike ; so I got my old grungy backpack and started filling it with the most random things you could possibly imagine. Because you never know when that unopened can of red kidney beans will come in handy…
A hot shower and half a bottle of sunscreen later, I did it. I managed my extremely organized schedule perfectly and for the first time, I was on time . I guess miracles do happen after all. As I departed for the hike trail, on my way I saw this Vintage, fire engine Red Jaguar parked on someone’s driveway. When it comes to cars, my philosophy has to be old is gold. There’s just something about the authenticity and the quality of the work done on automobiles that were manufactured by hand back in the day that makes me fall in love every time I see one. Boys will be boys right.
I proceeded on-wards to infinity and beyond while at that same instant , I promised myself not to get distracted by the really nice cars shimmering all around me. As I wavered down the trail, slowly yet surely I could notice the hint of civilization starting to decline and I could feel the cool breeze of the vast wilderness approaching. The breeze grew stronger and smelt fresher with every passing gust. I knew I was almost there. You could tell summer was almost there too by how amazingly scorching hot it was. I grew up in the desert but the UV rays really get to you up here in North America.
After some gruesome trekking into the woods I finally reached my destination. Breathing out a few sighs of relief, I soon realized that my journey was just beginning to take shape and was still in its infancy. I shut the gate behind me and then suddenly I was startled by a rustle in the brush nearby. As I cautiously approached it, the song of a bird that I had not heard in a while began to fill the air. Could it be what I thought it was, a swan? Or was this just my own wishful thinking ? Turns out the ‘Common hill Myna’ can produce a wide range of vocalizations, some of which even sound human like. The little rascal then flew away before I could get a nice shot. Oh well.
How different Swan Lake looked compared to when I last checked it out in the Winter. Back then it was cold and barren but beautiful none the less. Now it looked like it was a flourishing oasis, teeming with life at every nook and cranny. I hiked uphill and I hiked downhill. I went all around the shore boulevard step by step and found many cool sights along the way. I found what was probably the biggest leaf I’d ever seen. It was ginormous, at least 5 times the size of my camera cover. Then there was another leaf that looked like a heart. The subliminal messages of love and hope seem to echo everywhere in nature.
It was truly amazing to see just how far we’ve really come once you take all the technology away. It’s almost liberating. And this wasn’t even a real forest. It was just a lake surrounded by a few steep hills. In all honesty, I cannot put it into words, but there is a feeling I get once I’m able to reconnect with nature authentically; not listening to nature sounds on You tube. Although for most people, that is a last resort stress buster because not everyone has the means to get to a forest, park or a beach after their long day . This is where the Placebo Effect really comes into effect, I guess. We’re pretty useless out there from a physical perspective. It’s almost like we’ve devolved every other trait just so that we could focus on enhancing our brains and tool using abilities. Heck even the Neanderthals had a brain mass larger exceeded ours. It’s just that their bodies demanded more brain power to be diverted towards vision and movement while ours adapted towards socializing, developing speech and more complex thought patterns. I’ll shut up now.
It was a surreal experience, totally mesmerizing and it almost seemed as if I came there for the very first time. My patience was clearly being tested. It was so hot. I was exhausted, famished and ready to hit my comfy pillow back home. So I got out my Swiss army knife, opened the can of red kidney beans and proceeded to devour them like a savage.
After my nutritious meal, I was hell-bent on getting home and taking a nice ice-cold shower. And then, after I had given up all hope; after all those hours I saw them. With all their majestic appeal , getting ready to go for a quick swim in the lake 2 Swans with 2 baby Cygnets. Mama swan seemed a little anxious on my approach but then Papa swan let out a loud grunt. I think he probably told her that I’m just an idiot and I pose no real threat to her or the kids because after that they were so chilled out. I was really happy because I finally got to see them. I also got to see the Geese and a ‘Drake’; no not the rapper, a drake is male duck.
There upon without further delay, I give you Swans at ‘Swan Lake’ sitting in the Sun on the 1st day of Summer; with some Geese on the side.