A bevy of black swans circled our car parked near to the lake’s edge. It was my first encounter with a black swan, nose to beak, separated only by a wind-up wind-down window pane. I would have been no taller than one of the swans, had I’ve been out of the car. I remember feeling awestruck by their scale, their very presence. And yet as I was four years of age, or thereabouts, is this a later addition stitched to a memory derived from family folklore? My mum recalled one of the swans hopped up on the car’s bonnet, but wonders now if such a spectacle is likely. A small car buried beneath a mountain of feathered bodies, it is almost a cartoon image—better yet, a cinematic one. In territorial union to our intrusion, the swans rallied, and looped for me a definitive impression of swans, lakes, and Tchaikovsky[note]It is circles I see, and always have, whenever I listen, and often I do, to Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”[/note].
Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo in “LAC” by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Photograph by Alice Blangero