A Lucky Moment

[Below is an email I wrote to my siblings last Friday night.]

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

So today, I was tired when I got home from work, headachey; it was grey and spitting snow. I still had so much work to do. As I walked through this house’s dining room to take my briefcase and books upstairs, I glanced out the window at the lake and saw a swan. A huge swan, floating all alone in a flock of Canada geese.

I leave a pair of binoculars and my Sibley bird book, bought with Mom in Florida in 2003, on the dining room side table. I look up the bird. I work through all the identifying marks. Really? A Trumpeter Swan? (Of course I think of E.B. White and The Trumpet of the Swan.) I must be wrong. Trumpeter swans were almost driven extinct in the 20th century.

I write a Facebook message to the well-known Adirondack naturalist, Larry Master. Larry replies, “Trumpeter swans are very uncommon. I’m sure it’s a Whistler swan, but I’ll be come up and look. I’ll be there in half an hour.” Now I’m feeling extremely anxious and guilty. I am probably wrong and this poor guy is going to drive an hour!  I am a dope!

Meanwhile, I myself have to leave for barn chores. I ask Larry to let me know. I hurry through my hour of chores, race home, and Larry is still here, just about to get in his car. Larry is tall and very thin, with a floppy hat. He sees me and throws his arms wide with a huge smile. “It’s a Trumpeter!”  Of course, though I hardly know this man, I race toward him in my ratty, stinking barn clothes, screaming “YAY!” and give him a big hug!

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

Larry himself is almost stammering, he is so excited. He has never seen a Trumpeter Swan in the Adirondack Park. He has taken photos. He wants permission to come back in the morning, and to bring a birder friend. He would love to have permission to tell all the birders in the Adirondack Park (scores will show up). I tell him it’s fine for him and his one friend, but I’ll have to find out about the rest, due to the house being school property. I promise to let him know in the morning if the Trumpeter is still here.

Through all this all I could think was, “This is a message from Mom.” Lo I am with you always. (I know this is a bit sacrilegious but I truly had tears in my eyes.)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

*    *    *
The Trumpeter swan and the Canada geese were all gone by morning. These beautiful photos were taken by Larry. (He entered the sighting in a national bird database and “our” swan is the easternmost Trumpeter seen in North America this fall.)
I still feel comforted and happy, thinking of my mother.

3 Responses to A Lucky Moment

  1. Newly says:

    So wonderful, Sel! And thank you to Larry for the beautiful photos. xoxo

  2. Ned says:

    Wonderful sighting. Too bad there wasn’t a pair but one is better than none.

  3. Shawn says:

    What a lovely moment. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s