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  • Writer's pictureShannon Elisabeth

Fourth of July in France

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

There is a family of swans that live along the river Yonne in Burgundy, France. I also share this river as my house sits directly over the edge with steps leading into the water. There are a male and female -life mates who care for their four (once five) cygnets. I am fascinated and observe them daily from the shadows after the yellow-hot noon passes below the Willows, trees whose limbs grace the water. As the swans land, their wings flap loudly as if they were oars clapping the river, signaling their entrance. The sound echoes off the granite stones above the river because it is Burgundy and quiet. The male is quite protective and chases away curious humans on canoes. He hunts while his cygnets paddle behind their mother in a straight line. Watching them prompts me to think about Hans Christian Andersen's beautifully illustrated book that I used to read to my children, The Wild Swans. The swans are real humans that have been metamorphosed by a wicked witch Queen. Their only salvation is that their good-natured sister finds stinging nettles and sew sweaters out of them. Her hands blistered, she completes her task, unharmed by ghoulish spirits, and becomes human once again. Hans must have intensely observed swans and strolled in the countryside a good bit.

There are various concepts of my metamorphosis here in the French countryside, and I'll set out to explore them. Come along with me as I have found beautiful ways to refresh your spirit.

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