Posts Tagged ‘black swans’

I was delighted to see these swans on the river close to my home.  A mother and toddler were feeding them bread, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them it’s not a good idea.

There were black swans in Aotearoa at the time of the first human settlement, but they had disappeared by the time Pakeha started to settle.   They were reintroduced from Melbourne as a game bird in the 1860s, and they regularly fly here from Australia.  In the 19th century 40 black swans were imported to control watercress on the Avon Otakaro River, but they all flew off to settle elsewhere.

I saw one last year near the Margaret Mahy playground, but haven’t seen them in the Avon Loop in recent years, so it was good to see this pair today.

“It’s good to see this graceful bird
upon our river, undisturbed.”

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At yesterday’s writing workshop we walked around part of the Avon Loop, then we each wrote a short children’s story about something we’d seen.  Here’s mine:

Black Swans
Kim walked across the bridge.  In the old days, before the earthquakes, one flagstone had been loose and always rattled when you walked on it.  The new bridge didn’t rattle.  In the old days, before the earthquakes, a pair of black swans had nested under the bridge and she had sometimes seen them gliding along with a cygnet tucked snuggly on their back.  In the old days, before the earthquakes, people in canoes had been a frequent sight, and in the season there were always whitebaiters.

Then the earthquakes happened.  The river shifted, the land shifted, and people started to move away.  Where had they all gone?  The swans had disappeared too.  Where did they go?  Kim and her family had moved to a different suburb but she often came back to check on the old house.  Now that too was gone.  The bulldozers had knocked it down and the rubble had been carted away in large trucks.  Now there was just a huge empty field with daisies and red poppies.  She couldn’t even be quite certain just where their section had begun and ended.

As she stood on the bridge looking across at the empty space she heard a quiet honking sound.  She looked down, and there on the water were two black swans.  They had returned, just like in the old days.  Maybe soon, people would come back too.

“This story, which I wrote quite fast
holds echoes of our Loopie past.”

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