On my last Wednesday in England the Thames River was mirror still, with a low wisp of morning mist hanging over the surface. A glide of eight swans moved silently through the water, with the graceful stillness that swans have whereby no movement is apparent above the water line. It is almost as though they are being moved on sticks from below. The ephemeral beauty of the Windsor white swans is one of the defining sights of England in my mind and will be missed. The Spring cygnets with their dusky grey and brown fluffy feathers. The jossling gaggles of birds crowding for the attention of a birdfeed laden tourist. The grace of a solitary pure white bird, its wings cupped in a heart shape, moving with the slow flow of the stream.
In the Eighteen Hundreds the idea of a Black Swan was an anathema. To call “Black Swan” was the equivalent of calling “Bullshit”. So it is with a certain rightness that just days after my last sight of the white swans of the river Thames, I am standing on the pier next to a coffee bar called The Lucky Shag (named after the bird, not the sexual exploit), overlooking the Swan River. And watching black swans glide by.