Since we almost sunk the boat, we decided to get the wave runners in the water to see what we could do to them. As usual, I drove one and my husband took my daughter for a ride on the other. We took a couple laps around the lake and headed in. This was the first time the wave runners had been out this summer so we had to make a few adjustments to the lift when we brought them back to the dock. As we pulled into shore we noticed that a swan was trailing us. This isn’t uncommon. The swans are comfortable around people since we all share the lake. What was uncommon was the swan’s demeanor. It was very clearly pissed off.I asked my husband “what did you do?” because this swan seemed to be coming for him. He shrugged, as if to say “I don’t know why animals do what they do”, his usual response in situations like this. He helped his passenger to the dock as he positioned his water craft on the lift, leaving me sitting a few feet back in the shallows. From out of nowhere a tornado of white feathers came charging toward me with it’s head bobbing like Muhammad Ali. The angry bird stopped just short of plowing into me and retreated back to the deeper water behind the boat. I looked at my husband in shock. The lift for my wave runner was not yet in position and I was stranded on the idling machine. I switched off the engine just as the swan came back for more.
This time I saw the entire display as it puffed up it’s feathers and craned it’s neck back and forth while gliding across the water. I sat stunned on my now useless getaway vehicle and watched as the angry beast displayed it’s prowess. I asked what to do and was quickly told to get out of the water. I abandoned my wave runner and headed straight for shore. The swan could have the vessel if it wanted it. I was taken back to my childhood, remembering the geese chasing me as I threw crumbs from a bag of bread I was holding, running to get away from their pecks and nips. I could almost see the hood of the car as my Dad’s voice bellowed “jump on the hood.” I have been a little distrusting of large birds since then. I jumped up onto the dock as fast as I could with my water-weighted life vest attempting to pull me back in.
As I approached land at the end of the dock my Dad was returning with the tools necessary to adjust the lift. I told him to be careful because there was a swan who seemed to have a personal issue with his mechanic apprentice down by the boat. Just as he was saying “those swans can be mean!” my husband came flying toward us, rising out of the lake. I know that I have described my better half as a saint, but I never believed he could actually walk on water until I saw him running toward us with the silhouette of giant white wings behind him. The only thing that gave away his humanness were his knobby knees pumping up and down like pistons. The swan retreated as soon as he had run his enemy out of the water, swimming gracefully away into the horizon.
My Dad didn’t hesitate to tell us a story about how a swan had once drown a man in a lake when it was angry. The old man is always good for a story at the most inopportune time. The men headed back to the dock to complete their task and cover up all of the water crafts before heading back in for the day. The swan did not make an encore appearance.
We returned to the lake yesterday to do some yard work and when I went down by the water I spotted a pair of swans with five babies swimming a few hundred feet away. I guess we now know what the swan was so pissed off about. He must have thought the wave runner was a threat to his offspring. While I was taking a few pictures of the family my Mom came walking out to tell me she got an e-mail from a neighbor that read “Beware – angry swan on the lake is attacking jet skiers!” Really, you don’t say!