Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Sailing Swans

Across Lake Zürich between Rapperswil and Hurden is a wooden walkway. The walkway follows the path that Jacob pilgrims took on their way to Santiago de Compostela as far back as 1523BC. The walkway itself, reconstructed in 2001, is beautifully crafted out of oak (more on the walkway in another post) and the views you get from the bridge are magnificent. We were lucky enough to go on a cloudless day where we were accompanied by coots and swans. Lots of swans.

We noticed that all the swans were gliding back and forth across the water with their wings puffed up. A little bit of research shows that ... 'The wings of a swan form a sail at each side, between which the current of the wind passes, and thus acts upon them with much more effect than it does upon the sails which apply to vessels.' (The British cyclopaedia of ... )

Once the swans had reached where they wanted to go, they fed, nibbling at weeds on the bottom of the lake. Perfectly clear emerald green water.

On thy fair bosom, silver lake! 
The wild swan spreads his snowy sail, 
And round his breast the ripples break, 
As down he bears before the gale.
James Gates Percival, 1795 - 1856

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