In May this year, the swan couple in Chiswick house lake had seven cygnets (or swanlets as I call them…) This was a really big deal for them as the previous year they had lost all of their brood early on. They are a young swan couple, so they are learning as they go along and it was really important that they raise at least a few of their brood this year.
Seven cygnets were born. They lost one in the first few weeks. Here you can see the six with Mom. It was so cute how she literally took them all under her wing.
I was very luck to be able to walk in Chiswick house often and so I watched the swan family with fascination and admiration.
They were great parents and they protected their young, were always out eating something or other and they could be found on the bank in the sun when the sun shone.
One weekend, when Paul and I were there, we spied the swans and cygnets in the pond by the Ionic temple. After watching them for twenty minutes, it became clear that the cygnets could not get out of the pond, the ledge was just too high. It was heartbreaking to see Mom swan try and try and try to help them get out, but with no luck. Here she puts one of the cygnets on her back to try to help them get out, but he just fell off. Just awful.
So, we called the warden and he came down put up a little ramp, which is normally there, but had fallen down, and before you know it, they were out and alright.
The cygnets grew, their wings grew and their necks became strong. In October, I noticed that two of the cygnets were very happy to be away from mom and dad on the lake. I noticed that they would spend more and more time away from the family.
It’s fair to say that I’ve loved this family since May and loved watching them grow together, support each other.
I’ve also learnt that swans are quite vicious creatures when they choose to be and that underneath the grace and beauty, lies a ferocity and a single minded protection of their territory.
Dad swan can be one of the most grumpy creatures ever and his dislike of the Canadian geese is legendary. While the swan eggs were hatching he would spend days chasing the geese up and down Chiswick Park lake. Here he is chasing a goose and it’s really funny cause a little dog is chasing both of them:-)
The swans and their cygnets have been a part of my life for the last six months and so when I went down to Chiswick house at the end of last week, I have to admit to being really heartbroken when I found only Mom and Dad swan. No babies. They’ve gone. Without saying goodbye.
I feel really sad about it, as if I’ve lost something very precious.
That’s why I decided to write about them this week. This is my farewell to them.
Being a part of their lives and watching their progress has been one of the most touching things I’ve done every day since May. Really and truly, it is a miracle that all six have made it and grown up.
Now to some of you, it may seem silly, to get so attached to a family of swans. They’ve been my daily treasure. They’ve made me smile and feel happy every time I’ve seen them.
What is your daily treasure? What part of your day makes you smile?
When I think about it – it was the cygnets time to move away, to make a life for themselves and to find themselves partners and have families of their own.
They have gone off to be the king, or queen of their own lakes and they’ve had the best start any little swan can have.
When I think about it, I feel excited for them, after all they have their whole lives ahead of them now. And I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the first six months of their lives.
It was the right time for them to go and although I feel sad that I won’t see them every day, I can see that gratitude is the emotion I want to replace the sadness with.
The sadness is all about loss.
Gratitude is all about what I have and have had.
Sometimes things and people in your life let you go – it may be a job, a house, a friend, a partner, a loved one.
I’ve grouped all of these things together but some of these are a big deal and others of these are devastating in your life.
Sometimes you have no choice, like in the case of the cygnets, or if you are made redundant, if a landlord decides to sell the house that you are renting from him, if a friend moves away, or a partner leaves the relationship for good, or a loved one dies.
The thing is, that in your head you expected (and perhaps hoped) that the relationship, the house, the loved one, the friend would always be there and remain the same in your life.
Then they let go.
Your heart bursts with sadness. You feel angry.
Life has just thrown you a big curved ball.
Feel the sadness. Feel the anger. Be gentle with yourself.
There is a time to mourn your loss, to mourn what you longed for, what you hoped for.
Let me say here, that there is no right amount of time; it is all dependent on you and your situation.
But there will come a time to let go of the sadness, of the anger. Part of the reason to let go of the sadness and the anger is for you. These emotions can clog up your life and affect your body.
There will come a time to be grateful for what you had, and to look forward with hope in your heart.
I believe that there are so many good and beautiful things just waiting to come into our lives, but we have to clear the way and let them in.
What is it time for you to let go of?