Whilst walking home from saying a final goodbye to a friend before I move, I noticed how enchanting this small walk I had trodden countless times was. It is funny how you see your world with an increased appreciation of its beauty once you know you won’t be living there for much longer. I walked along the river, passed the trees and into a quiet high street decorated with Christmas lights. Already dark at 18:30pm, most people were settled in their homes, it was only me walking along the river. Only me and the swans, as they gracefully glided through the still water together.
I had fed these swans bread on this stretch of river as child and watched their children grow from clumsy balls of grey fluff into elegant white swans year after year. There are two lovely facts about swans I have known for as long as I can remember.
The first fact is that swans are monogamous. Two swans fall in love and are faithful to each other till death us do part (an essential part of the wedding vows recited in churches for the last 500 years), when one of the pair dies the other can die of a broken heart. The second fact is that the Queen owns all of the swans in the UK and it is illegal to kill one as it is seen as an act of treason. I used to imagine that the Queen had the ability to open a window of Buckingham palace and call all the swans to her side. Sadly, growing up made me realise that this was highly improbable!
I stood and watched these majestic birds for some time and smiled. Maybe I was saying a small ‘goodbye, I am not sure when I will see you again’ to them.
This will be something that I definitely miss whilst I am in India. Walking along the river at night, feeling the ice-cold air in my nostrils, only the sound of my own footsteps for company and the twinkling of the Christmas lights in the distance. I am usually a person who despises being cold but on these spell-bounding instances, when the beauty of winter nights captivates me, I quite like it.