zird is the word (lizardek) wrote,
zird is the word
lizardek

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CRYING ON THE WING

A lamentation of swans flew overhead this afternoon. They were heading southerly which seems strange to me, being so late, but a lot of the big migrations here seem to be always heading in the wrong directions. Last fall, all the birds were flying north and I stood in the driveway and waved my arms at them and shouted "Wrong way! Wrong way!" but they didn't listen. The swans flew low and fast over the house, honking in a mournful way. In fact, at first I thought they were geese, they were so big and loud. I could hear the windbeats of their wings as they passed, thwhum thwhumming.

They're not as beautiful when they fly as when they float. They look big and clumsy and they make astonishing noises. Even though they are called Mute Swans, they are far from silent, and it sounds as though they are calling directions or encouragement to the other members of the wedge as they constantly adjust their course.

There were more than 11 of them, and I saw no girl looking for nettles, so I assume that they were not the enchanted brothers that Hans Christian Andersen wrote about. Pity, that. Although, I always felt sorry for the brother who was left with 1 swan's wing at the end of the story.

There's always been a fascination for me in the collective nouns for different animals. Most people have heard of a pride of lions, an exaltation of larks and a murder of crows. More cool ones: a culture of baboons, a bloat of hippos, a tower of giraffes. A smack of jellyfish. A rhumba of rattlesnakes. A leap of lizards. :D I wonder if one can get a linguistics job thinking these up? Wouldn't that be great?! Maybe they're all taken, though. That would be sad: nothing left to name. That would give the swans and me something to lament.

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