This morning I was out riding in the Snohomish River Valley enjoying the overnite snowfall and clear blue skies. What a day! Surely, this is God's Own Land. The river, the fields, crisp and clear and... wait, what's that? A gaggle of geese? No, it's a swarm of swans. There, out in the corn stubble. Trumpeters, I think.
I stop to take a phone/camera shot at about fifty yards. Heads pop up like periscopes. Good composition, so I snap off a couple pics and decide to get a little closer, thinking I'm Ketchikan the Animal Man. They begin to rise from their resting spots and casually walk away, keeping one beady, black eye on the Wildlife Expert. No! Don't go! These moments rank among the reasons I ride! Don't you beasts understand?
Not to be outdone and knowing that I am smarter than a bird by quantum leaps, I reach into my pocket for an oat bar. You know, the kind with seeds. Birds like seeds, right? I begin to break up the bar and, while sowing the crumbs like chicken feed (I've seen it on the TV), I begin a slow methodical chant. Somewhat similar to the one the largest swan is making.
What happened next should convince all doubters that a pair of 34" legs is no match for a pair of 24" legs, backed up by two 4' wings. And a 7" beak. A beak exquisitely designed by God (upon Whose land I am tresspassing and now attempting to exit) for producing a Craftsman Plier-like grip on flesh.
Good thing I was wearing my bike helmet. The fowl creature was on my shoulders by the time I had gone 15 yards. I swatted him off and thought he was done because he stood there hissing at me like he had fangs. No way! Here he comes again! I made it to my bike, unbitten so far, because I turned and stood my ground a few times.
He kept charging every time I tried to mount up and soon it was a stand-off. Me on one side of my bike and the ingrate bird-brain on every other side. Soon, it degenerated to a shouting match. Me, yelling about how birds are supposed to like seeds. He, matching my volume decibel for decibel, yelling whatever it is pissed off swans say.
Then, in an instant, he attacked. Right through the open bike frame. Popped his head in there and, AAAAAAHHHHHGEEEEZZZZ!!!! Dead-On the tip of the ol' Gooeyduck!
Now, I won't describe the results, as they are at this writing still evolving. And, I won't post any pictures of same, because I don't know how and this is a family show. However, this Christmas we'll be eating goose instead of turkey cuz they don't farm swans around here.