Friday, 6 February 2009

Cygnus Camelopardalis



Neckelchester School and Raffsburgh College were closed again today because of the snow, so the whole family were at home. Rising very early this morning, I looked out of the window of Necky Knoll House. The light outside looked luminescent and mysterious.

"A walk in the snow," said Maureen. Her eyes shone as she turned towards me. "To the Gardens!"




We tramped across fields, through the shadowy Forest and beyond. All the while the light grew stronger and the shimmering mist dispersed.

"I want to see the Swans!" whispered Littl' Nicky, looking up at the sky.




Our swans, Cygnus camelopardalis, are unusual birds. Large and graceful, their flight across the winter sky is awe inspiring. Like mythical creatures from distant constellations, silent and majestic, their huge wings move slowly as they head for their secret nesting grounds.

However, they have a mischievous streak.

Much bigger than Littl' Nicky, strong yet friendly, the birds have a penchant for heavy metal objects, which they pilfer prodigiously. Only last week we caught one making off with Necky Becky's new sledge! As she rushed out of the house it flew off, making loud tooting noises.

But in the Gardens, Cygnus camelopardalis appear silent, serene and a little numinous.

As we came out from the trees by the lake, the rushes parted and a swan glided into view. Graceful, elegant, yet with a quizzical almost cheeky look on its face. Noiselessly it passed us and grew smaller and smaller as it made its way across the water.

We sighed and continued on our walk in a kind of rapturous silence.

Yet ... strange though it may seem, I'm sure that as it passed by, Cygnus camelopardalis winked at us!






52 comments:

Barbara Martin said...

Ah, swans...love 'em, but not as much as I do giraffes. Do you feed them throughout the seasons? The Trumpeter Swans fly back to Lake Ontario every spring which won't be for another two and a bit months.

Jeane said...

oh, I have no doubt that it winked at you! a creature this mischevious could do nothing else as it passed out of view.

The Pink Cowboy said...

Have you seen any Phoenicopterus Camelopardalis lately? They are so beautiful. They are pink and gracious. Love this post.

Derrick said...

Hi Raph,

Beautiful illustrations, as ever, and an enchanting story. Your walk must have been magical - the woodland certainly looks so. Speak again next week.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Barbara - Our swans are with us all year round. They accept tidbits of food from us, (in a coyly condescending way!), but find most of their food themselves.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Jeane - I think you're right. (I wonder if it is somehow reading my blog, now?)

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh, Pink Cowboy - Phoenicopterus camelopardalis! They are a magnificent bird indeed. Knollshire is a little too cold for them. One day I'll take our Tours bus to the coastlands where they live, and post the pictures of them.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Derrick! Our woodlands and forests do have a magical feel to them.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Every one in a while a swan shows up here in the river. Lovely creatures, indeed.

There's a little village in northern Ohio named Cygnet, which I usually pass on my way to Lake Erie. Over the years I've had great fun asking passengers what they thought the word meant. Plus their attempts at pronunciation were often greatly amusing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cygnus camelopardalis eh? Do they have longer necks? They are lovely birds and part of their loveliness comes from their mystery - where have they been - how far have they flown - what have they seen. Hope you enjoyed your walk.

L. Rochelle said...

Hi Raph-
Cygnus definitely winked.
We had a school on Westchester, around the corner from Neckelchester? Also closed on snowdays.
We'd run up the snowy hill, first up, King of the hill. In NYC.
What a wonderful post!
Lyn

Sepiru Chris said...

Good evening Raph,

They say mimicry is the highest form of flattery...

Today I tried to become Camelopardalian.

I left my fair neck exposed to the sun all day whilst hiking with no sun protection.

When others started commented upon my growing crimson hues, I put on a Japanese cotton neck scarf that kept moving around with my pack.

I now sport a bright red neck, accentuating its length, complete with mottled bits of different degrees of burns, highly reminiscent of Camelopardalisian markings... The blisters, at a distance, really help delineate the darker patches...

photons flash, splash skin
rosy lobster hue begins
heat will out, nerves sing

If only I'd known that cygnus camelopardalis was with you and your family, and mischievously, too. I can mimic brilliant white in my sleep. But not now, not until the scorch shears off.

Tschuess,
Chris

PS Sorry about letting you down with the loku; three one syllable words is too terse for me

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Hello Grizzled! I'd be interested to know some of the meanings that the passengers came up with. If I didn't know the meaning of Cygnet, I'd guess that someone had lost a signet ring in the village back in the mists of time!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

They do have longer necks, Weaver. I'm also not aware of any Planet Earth swans with giraffe-type markings on their necks, but let me know if I'm wrong!

We enjoyed our walk very much, thank you - there's always so much to see, and the smells of the damp earth and trees are wonderful.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Westchester, Lyn? There must be some parallel connection with Neckelchester. I wonder if there could be a portal there?

I'll tell Necky Becky about the first up the hill game, she'd enjoy that! Thank you.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Camelopardalian Sepiru Chris!

I am so flattered by your flattering mimicry! You really needn't have gone through such discomfort - patches of fake tan artistically applied would have been far less painful ...

(Although fake tan does smell a little like stale dog biscuits as it dries .... not that we have either of those things in Necky Knoll House).

Necky Becky says you probably look more like her pink giraffe markings than mine, and please can there be a photo on your blog?

'Rosy lobster hue begins!' Brilliant ... in word and hue.

You didn't let me down with the loku - I really liked the latest one, and thank you most gratefully!

May your neck be comfortable again soon!

Lauren said...

I am always so amazed at your illustrations. They must take you so much time. They are awesome.

Sandy said...

CHARMING....loved this post. I love swans too!! My heritage is similar.

Heather said...

We had promised ourselves another visit to Slimbridge to watch the swans arrive for their evening feed. January is the best time to go as so many birds have arrived by then. I imagine there will still be plenty there while these wintry conditions are with us. If my poor husband gets rid of his awful cold, which has settled on his chest and affects his breathing, we might yet make it. I think your illustrations are just delightful.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you so much, Lauren - I am honoured!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Sandy, I'm really pleased. Swans are so special.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Heather!

Slimbridge sounds interesting; I have a mental image of one of those narrow kind of rope bridges stretched across a forest ravine, with mist rising off the river.

I hope your husband's cold is better very soon.

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the enchanting walk , came alive for me. How lucky to have such beautiful swans.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the walk, Rosemary! We are very lucky here.

Heather said...

Thankyou for the kind comment Raph and yes, my snowdrops and crocus are standing upright again already. What tough little things they are.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

They are tough, Heather. It always amazes me how they survive under all the snow!

Clare W said...

What a glorious and individual Blog - I am captivated

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Clare! I've just visited your blog, and am fascinated by your Moon Series.

bindu said...

Your illustrations are so lovely! Sounds like you had a nice walk in the snow. Swans are fascinating - I wonder why they evolved to have long necks ...

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Bindu! We are planning some more walks and days out too.

LeenaM said...

You talking about swans in this post!
These wonderful birds are nesting quite near our summer cottage here.
If you like to see photos from swans from last May and June, copy and paste this URL:
http://picasaweb.google.fi/leenamarja/Joutsenet#slideshow/5207280506852233970

Warm greetings from the middle of snow, very white Finland!

http://leejattas.aminus3.com

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you LeenaM! I look forward to visiting the URL later today and seeing your swans.

Warm greetings from Knollshire!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, what a wonderful day you describe! Winking swans and snow.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Pamela!

Today we have been on a pre-Tour visit to a place of splendid warmth and no snow ... I will tell you all about it soon.

Poetikat said...

Oh, if only I could be with you on one of your fantastic excursions! What a lovely forest and moon.
So your Cygnus Camelopardalis has a thing for bling of a sort. Better bolt down your claw-foot bath and the Rayburn!

Kat

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Goodness me - you had me worried there for a moment, Poetikat! We have a stove like that in our kitchen, but Maureen assures me it is well fixed to the floor.

My sister Nektareeni has a clawfoot bath, so I'll mention it to her ...

It would be lovely if you could come on one of our excursions - maybe you will discover a portal to Camelopardalis one day.

Rab said...

Good day sir! I am quite a fan of giraffes, ever since a family of them invited me to tea in Zimbabwe (this was before R.M. turned the place upside down!). Well actually, I think they were interested in my tea, but they certainly were more sociable than the hippos. Anyhow, I thought I would follow the adventure here. Wishing you a marvelous day, truly,

Rab

acornmoon said...

I am trying to work out where you live, I thought it was only us Brits that stayed at home when it has snowed. Other countries seem to manage far better than us when coping with snow.

Thanks for your kind words which were much appreciated.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Good day to you too, Rab!

You are acquainted with planet Earth Giraffes? And have had tea with them!

As a Camelopardalian, I have no knowledge of Earth giraffes; but only yesterday visited a wonderful blog called Art Propelled, via ARTIT where - oh wonder! - there are photos of a planet Earth place called Giraffe Manor, where huge wild giraffes share breakfast through the windows with humans!

I have just been to visit your superb looking blog with its sophisticated design.

Heather said...

I have Glimmer Mists too Raph - I am so greedy!! I love the things Glenda does and have some of her tree stamps. They are very versatile. These new ink sprays are different from Glimmer Mists but all three products give lovely results, each having it's own characteristics.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Acornmoon, if you have a telescope, you may just be able to see where we live, on a clear night...

I hope you are feeling better and that the sun shines where you are!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Heather - having lots of art materials is not greedy, it is an essential aspect of existence!

I'm looking forward to seeing the creations you produce!

Tom Atkins said...

I don't know who does your illustrations, but I do love them. The second one today realy sang to me. I'd hang it on my walls, it's so lovely.

I smiled at the idea of your long-necked family playing in the snow.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you so much, Tom - I'm really honoured! The second picture is of our Forest, which is a beautiful place to wander through all the seasons.

Rachete said...

I love your work!

http://globalartblog.com

Poetikat said...

I'll see if there's a portal in the closet in the back room. We keep it shut this time of year to save on the heating costs. There is a mysterious panel in there...don't be surprised if one day!

Kat

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Thank you Rachete, that is greatly appreciated!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

A mysterious panel, Poetikat! We'll make sure we always have plenty of cakes, in case you turn up for tea!

Poetikat said...

I love custard slices!

Kat

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Now you're really on the giraffe wavelength there, Poetikat! Girth's Gleeful & Greedy Custard Slices are the best!

Poetikat said...

Sounds delish! I'm working on the portal as we speak!

Kat

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Great, Poetikat! Are you going to bring Goody and Will through with you?