Tundra Swans

On day #4 of my Sunrise Sadhana, I was gifted with many mementos, including this beautiful sunrise over frozen, but thawing, Lake Harriet.

Sunrise over frozen Lake Harriet


Remarkably, just as on the first day of my Sadhana, just as the sun cleared the trees, a Pileated Woodpecker called again.  I am very intrigued to discover if he continues his morning ritual with me!

I was also gifted with the musical call of Tundra Swans as they flew overhead, so close they were I could hear the rushing of their wings, like a stream cascading over rocks.

Here in central Minnesota, Trumpeter Swans are year-round residents, but in the spring Tundra Swans migrate through on their way back to their nesting grounds in the high Arctic.  From a distance the calls of a flock of Tundra Swans have been mistaken for the sound of a pack of baying hounds.  I first heard this as a young boy, and made that very mistake, while working on the farm where I grew up.  Though it was in the fall of the year as the swans were migrating south.   Here is a poem I wrote about 20 years about my experience as a boy.



Ears of corn, with paper husks,
Cracked open like lotus petals,
Lie scatter upon the soggy ground.

The shovel scrapes them together,
Scooping up profits
In graceless hurry.

Wild swans call in the distance;
Their hoarse cries
undulating upon the breeze.

I, a small boy, stop from the chore
And glance around,
Fearing an attack of hounds.

Then gaze upwards
At the flapping vees
Branching in the twilight
And discover stillness
With my shovel in my hands.


perhaps I will rework this poem in the coming days…


6 thoughts on “Tundra Swans

  1. The poem doesn’t need reworking in my humble opinion. You painted a clear vision in my head; a visceral feeling of space and place and sounds. How remarkable hearing the pileated woodpecker and and a rushing of large wings of swans overhead! What an experience. I have missed your earlier posts and now must go have a good read! Blessings…

  2. Mesmerizing picture, mesmerizing words. Your poem resonates for me. Samadhi is often half “expected” to arrive when one sits to practice and elusive as the mind plays with trying to arrive there. Yet, there is samadhi in those rare moments. The moments when we are unexpectedly graced, almost like being lovingly slapped by stillness with such breathtaking beauty and connection that we instantly become presence itself. I am so grateful for those moments! Thank you for reminding me with your graceful words:)

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