My Single Swan


I am very concerned about my single swan. He sadly paddles around Otter Pond all by himself. Aren’t swans supposed to mate for life?

I mean I am concerned about a lot of things: Is the calorie count for the frozen pizza for the whole thing or just one slice? Is this lack of intelligent and respectful discourse from the leader of the free world going to be the new norm? What is going to happen to Kate from “This is Us”? How can we help young girls know they are amazing and beautiful and strong? Is there anywhere open to eat dinner in the off season of the Hamptons on a Tuesday night? Can I use mint dental floss to tie a leg of lamb? Should I be concerned about side boob?

But when I look out my window each morning and each evening, and I see that single swan slowly gliding on that still water in silence, a bit of my heart breaks.

The reason swans are monogamous is not that they make a meaningful origami tinfoil wrap for restaurant leftovers. Apparently, by sticking together year after year and raising clutches of cygnets, they learn from their successes and failure over time to produce and protect the highest number of healthy offspring. This is better than Dr. Spock (the baby book author, not “Star Trek”). Also, there is teamwork where, unlike other waterfowl, the male helps incubate the eggs, allowing the female to feed (unless of course it is the dreaded Tuesday night) and gain back the weight she lost laying the eggs. The swan divorce rate is only about four percent and is usually a result of a bad breeding season or nest failure (soon to be a fixer-upper show on HGTV). It is only the Australian black swans that are regularly unfaithful, with one in seven eggs not belonging to her swan spouse. Do we learn nothing from the movies?

Swans are one of the few waterfowl to exhibit such monogamy. Male mallard ducks, on the other hand, are dicks. These ducks are a love ‘em and leave ‘em sort where the female is left to rear the ducklings alone.

So why, you might ask, am I assuming this emotionally evolved single swan is a male? After the death of a partner, most female swans will venture out to join a new flock, while males tend to remain in their breeding territory hoping to attract a passing female. Voila! Inspiration! I will bring my single swan to the American Hotel on a Friday night, flock full of birds of a feather, age-appropriate females.

I am also assuming that he is unhappy and hasn’t had any luck on Bumble, when maybe he’s thrilled to not have to pick up his molting feathers and can belch and scratch and watch ESPN with no nagging wife. Maybe find the swan version of a Barcalounger.

Still, I find myself wandering down to the edge of the water and looking at him longingly. Maybe in my own fantasy, Otter Pond is Swan Lake. He is the prince that is a swan by day and a man by night, and the spell can only be broken by a woman who will promise to love him forever. He may kiss me deeply and declare me his new mate for life. Or he may just hiss and reject my organic swan food and crap on my lawn.

Men. You never know.

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