Beauty in the Curves

Yesterday I went back to the place where just a few days ago I saw the Trumpeter Swans, and this time I found more. One adult and five juveniles were swimming leisurely in a peaceful surrounding. The scene was breathtaking.

This was the closest I’ve ever got near to a bird this big. They were swimming just a few feet from the snow-covered river bank where I was standing. This time, I could observe much clearer the beauty of their form… and discovered, of course, it’s in the curves!

Their naturally endowed, long neck is a posture of grace when held up straight, elegant and serene:

But when they bend down, the velvety, long neck creates curves that are sensually stirring:

When they fly, I could see the lofty curvature composed by their wings:

Beauty in its most natural and simplest form. Not flaunting, just being. Nothing they do to cultivate that, all endowed by their Maker, the creative Giver of life and grace.


The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

– Mary Oliver (italicized lines her own)


“A white cross streaming across the sky”

Yes, I saw it… and felt it. Still rippling in my heart.


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

20 thoughts on “Beauty in the Curves”

  1. Beautiful photos, and as I was looking at them, I wondered if you knew Oliver’s poem. You do! Apart from the birds, the colors — the browns and blues — are wonderful, too. What a great experience.


    1. Mary Oliver had two poems entitled The Swan. There may be more which I’m not aware of. This one has almost the exact match of my experience. A picture may speak a thousand words, but often it is words that can reach to the deep and unleash the thoughts.


      1. Beautifully said, Arti. Such a lovely accompaniment to your photos. I saw a short video about a gosling whose neck muscles had not developed properly and how an inventive person crafted a gentle brace until the gosling’s wings grew in and helped her balance and regain that curving grace you described.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Trumpeters are one of the three species of swans in North America. Here’s a simple way to distinguish between them, according to the Trumpeter Swan Society of Minnesota: Look at their bills. Black – Trumpeters, Orange – Mute, Yellow – Tundra. Do check out the link. Thanks for visiting, Bob. 🙂


  2. Oh!! How I wish that we had snow here, but not too much. The trumpeters are beauties!! Thank you, Arti, your photos are so wonderful. May I do an oil painting of one, for my own practice?
    God bless, C-Marie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. C-Marie,

      For your own practice, sure. And when you sell it one day be sure to cite the source. Haha! Feel free to share the link of my post to anyone you think might be interested in looking at the pictures. 🙂


  3. Such gorgeous birds and their white contrasts so beautifully with the water and the brilliant blue sky. Adding the Mary Oliver poem to the photos brought it all together for a lovely, peaceful, mindful breath on a busy work afternoon. Thank you Arti!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful post! I love swans (In Stratford, Ont., you can get rather close to them — but they can be scrappy!) You really nailed it with the curves and then the Oliver poem — a perfect combination. The photos are wonderful. A beautiful thing to see and read this morning!


    1. I saw the swans in Stratford-Upon-Avon too. But discovering them right here at home is a totally different feel. We don’t get to see a lot of birds or variety of ducks in the winter, let alone swans. My wish is to see a Loon close up. In my near 10 years of avid birding, I’ve only seen the loon once! And from afar.


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