Being at the centre of a Swan’s landing strip is not something I would recommend, especially early in the morning. In fact any time is pretty fearsome.
Imagine pootling along the river on your paddleboard, innocently caught up in the bliss and beauty of sunrise and you hear the rhythmic beating of wings. You glance around and you see a spectacle of swans all in formation like the red arrows making a fly past. Unfortunately it wasn’t a fly past more of a fly at.
At first you think how beautiful until the stark swan-filled reality occurs to you. That swan display team are coming into land and you are in their path. Shit? Oh yes… Words far stronger and a mass of urgent paddling to the side of the river in hope one could shelter ensued. In that moment the reality hit: I was about to play chicken with a swan.
In that moment when time slows down, and you find yourself in suspended swan animation, a few questions stampede through your mind.
Could a swan collision kill me?
Would the swan die too?
How many people have died by a swan landing on them?
What would my parents say?
Have I done everything I wanted to do?
Have I done the best I can?
Why didn’t I eat that cake?
Who should I have told I love them?
Do I have any regrets?
If I survive this what would I do differently?
Have I lived well?
And that was when the penny dropped – swan descending on my from the sky resulted in the question: have I lived well?
The swan, with its determined look in its eye, like a pilot making an emergency landing, swerved slightly. With a sense of urgency it made some epic thudding with its webbed feet to slow down. I was still in the landing path, yet the calculated foot thuds combined with an epic glide resulted in the little beauty crashing down about a meter away, making a final swerve and missing me by about 20 centimetres. Once landing was complete, it made a nice swanny squawk sound. I am sure the little bugger winked as it glided past too.
After breathing a sigh of relief, I found myself caught up in reflection. On the paddle back to the launch I considered how I was living my life and whether there was more to add to my state of living. How could I increase enjoyment? How could I increase pleasure and fun? What did I need to get rid of? How could I have more connection? If this week was my last week on the planet what would I like to experience before I departed?
My answers are for me to take action on. However, one swan-tastic incident made me me re-evaluate and reminded me of how easy it is to fall into life complacency. That swan-off in itself was worth it to make me consider how to live my best life.
The big question: If I had a week left on the planet what would I like to experience, enjoy and share? What do I need to get rid of?