Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Ripple effect

Several months ago I wrote a post called “Swans”.
It was about the walks I take with my wife around the neighborhood pond right outside our front bay window.
You should probably read that post first.
It’s short but this post will make a bit more sense if you have time.

My shrinking faith in humankind was all but shattered yesterday morning as I read a
story in our local newspaper regarding an incident that happened right here.
I read with shock and sadness that one of the swans was found dead a week ago Sunday with an arrow through its neck.
I realize there are more serious issues pasted on the front page and this was fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things but . . .
Who cares about a dead swan anyway?
Well, I do.
Especially when it was killed right outside my front window.
That some pathetic excuse for a human being would do something as cowardly as this has left me shaking my head.
Why would someone feel the need to do something like this?
For the sheer sport of it?
These swans bothered no one and were a joy to watch as they glided across the water, side by side.
Maybe it’s the fact that I drew something of a metaphor between the two swans and my wife and me. The literary device I used was now senselessly murdered like oh so many badly written high school essays.
I try and fool myself into thinking that most of the world embraces respect for the sanctity of life when in reality we really don’t at all.
We kill and sacrifice altogether too many things these days: the truth, overly altrusitic ideals we can never live up to, our religion, the environment, all the wildlife we can get our bloody hands on and we ultimately kill each other.
The mechanism used differs slightly but the outcome is always the same; we come away with less than what we started out with.
In my mind, I see a solitary tear fall from the eye of the remaining swan or maybe it’s just from the heavens.
It dissolves into the glassy surface of the quiet pond generating deep concentric circles of sadness that spread far beyond the reaches of the tiny shoreline.
It’s reached a special place I call home and the many people that live around me.
While the earth will continue to turn and the seasons will continue to change, I can’t help but wonder if we as human beings will ever do the same.
I can only hope.



  1. Killing just for the sake of killing is just wrong. I feel the same way about trophy hunters. I am all for hunting. It is one of the best ways to get back to the natural order of things, before grocery stores, when it was man’s ability to hunt in order to survive. To eat meat that you yourself killed puts you in touch with the spirit of that animal. Eating pre-packaged foods does not give you that type of insight. But to kill just for the sake of killing is one of the foulest things that one can do.

    ‘Wrong’ was the first word that came to my mind too.

  2. killing for the sake of killing. Human nature at its worst. I am sorry for the loss of such a beautiful animal, and even more so for the lonely mate left behind by such a senseless act.

    It hit way too close to home for my comfort.

  3. “Why?”
    I’d like to know the answer to this question too…

    I’m just hoping the catch the bastard responsible.

  4. swans mate for life, and have been proven to mourn the demise of a mate, so the sad part is the one left behind will forever be alone and mourn their loss…i have no problem with hunting for food when needs be, but to kill for trophies or simply to kill? man is the most cruel creature on earth without a doubt….

    I’ve since seen the other swan gliding solo around the pond.
    Yeah, in mourning would be a good way to put it.

  5. How horrible. I like to think there is a special place in hell reserved for such people.

    Right next to the glowing ovens…

  6. That’s awful.

    Not too much more to be said.

  7. I found your post while searching for solace in my own terrible swan grief. In our nearby lake live a pair of swans. Every year for years now they have babies and crowds of people walk by to watch the nesting, hatching and the cygnets growing. Two weeks ago someone smashed all six eggs (two days away from hatching), killed the female and now the male is left all alone. Everyone was crying, notes and flowers are still being put up by their nest but every time I walk past and see the male alone my heart feels like it is going to break. I have cried, lain awake at night, cannot eat and am thinking constantly about this poor creature who lost his whole family in one fell swoop. He is the only swan on the lake – will he be alone forever? I lost my whole family when I was 15 so maybe this has woken my dormant grief but I wonder if I will ever forget this. Just seen that swans can live 30 years. I can’t bear the thought of the poor thing spending the rest of his life alone. He had the same mate for about seven years.

    I’ve sent you a personal reply, Jan.
    I’m praying this will end well.
    Please keep me posted.

  8. Thank you so much. I took your words to heart and contacted the municipality today. People have been putting notes and flowers up at the empty nest every day and lighting candles every night since the swans were killed but now we would like to do something to help them out in a more active way. We have asked about adding more swans to the lake and many of us have volunteered to stand guard at night to protect them.

    Wonderful, Jan.
    Keep us all posted, okay?

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