No swans visible, I walked in the direction I’d seen them last. Tramped a long way through the snowy woods, lugging water and oatmeal (and camera, of course). Back where I began, I went the other way, through rose canes which poked me through my pants. Making my own path, determined, I called for William.
No matter how many times I’ve found him, it’s still a thrill. My heart leaps up in recognition: “Look, there’s my beloved friend! Safe and sound, so happy to see me!” I found him, finally, in the cattails at the edge, the edge of ice becoming water, and could not get to him. “I cannot meet you there!” I cried, as if he understood (of course he did). He and his mate Bella tracked me as I moved left, and we all met up in a solid spot which could support us.
They came to me, knowing I would feed them. Knowing I would keep them safe. They trust my truth. I used to think the line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was dopey and untrue, and yesterday, when I threw a clump of oatmeal to Bella in the water (she was giving William his “special time” with me (all 4 of William’s partners have honored our bond, and have come to love me)), when it hit her in the side, she jumped! It was a great distance. I have spatial issues. “I’m so sorry Bella!” I yelled. I think she forgives me. Seems to understand my heart is always in the right place when I am with them. It would have been quite rude to not apologize.
And wherever they’ve wandered off to, in search of food or safety, they know I will always find them. Through the muck and the ice and the brambles, tired and sore, cold and often wet, I will search until I find them, light of my life, sun of my soul, friends.