It was a beautiful day and the first time the calves had been let our of their cribs into the corral. Everyone was busy on the farm. Spring through autumn, there’s plenty of work for everyone. I petted the calves who were friendly, if a bit skittish, meeting strangers. I could feel the bumps on their head where their horns were beginning to come in. A warm, bright spring day on the farm. A good day.
Every morning, as I limp down the hallway from the bedroom to the kitchen, no matter how stiff I am with arthritis, no matter how poorly I’ve slept, as soon as I get to the kitchen, my heart becomes lighter.
“Good morning, fur children,” I chirp. They woof and growl and gambol and pant. They know it’s cookie time for the canine contingent, but coffee time for me.
I make a brief detour to turn on the coffee pot. Priorities.
There’s no more time to waste. Eager faces surround me as I approach the huge dog biscuit container on the table in the corner. It’s shaped like a giant dog biscuit — lest I forget. The dogs , with their acute senses of smell, are more than aware of where to find the biscuits. Eyes not required.
They know my hands are the true source of all biscuits, so they watch me with their eyes. Excitement mounts.
Bishop is an Australian Shepherd. Lacking sheep, he stares at me, with the apparent objective of engendering guilt. It works pretty well. He is also Bonnie’s love slave.
Then there’s Nan, the Norwich Terrier. Nan stares, but adds sound effects. Grunts and agonized moans. She’s starving she says. She hasn’t eaten in … minutes. She will repeat this performance whether she is still chewing the biscuit she just got or it’s been a whole night since her last treat.
And last, but not at all least, there’s Bonnie. She bounces up and down, bounds around the kitchen like a mad thing, twirling and spinning, yapping and prancing. She’s young and full of joie de vivre. Shortly, she will be full of biscuits.
They all believe if they don’t remind me, I will forget them and their cookies. These dogs have never missed a treat or a meal in their lives but you’d never guess it.
The sun streaks in through the windows, the smell of coffee fills the room. Joyous gurgling and crunching from the furry ones and I’m off to the office to check my email and see what surprises the night has brought. Another day is begun.
Happy morning to all!
For more than 50 years, I have been nurturing this idea and I have to thank you for giving me an opportunity to tell the world.
Back in my bright college days, I was for the first 2 years, a music major. When my fellow wannabe musicians hung out on the quad on warm sunny days, we would plan projects that were going to make us famous. Symphonies were planned. Great achievements as conductors and composers were spun as glorious dreams, although I don’t know that my class actually produced anyone who really hit the big time. Medium time seems to be as good as we got.
But my dream, my great project, was a full musical comedy based on the story of Leda and the Swan. I thought Broadway because in those days, there were no computer generated graphics to make the impossible real on-screen. Now, I think perhaps Hollywood would be the correct venue for this masterpiece.
In the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces, or rapes Leda. Which is never made entirely clear, but I vote for seduction since I have a lot of trouble visualizing rape by a swan. I mean, even as Zeus … swans are not agile except on water. They have trouble with take offs being rather heavy-bodied. Moreover, the lack of hands and arms seems to make rape a rather difficult to manage business. Regardless, Leda becomes pregnant from the experience. She bears Helen and Polydeuces, both children of Zeus. Simultaneously (and I’d like to know how she managed this), she also gives birth to Castor and Clytemnestra who are the offspring of her human husband Tyndareus, King of Sparta.
In the myth, Leda is able to convince her parents and husband that despite all logic or reason, her extraneous pregnancy was not the result of a lover or promiscuous sexual behavior. No, no! Honest to gods (we are in a polytheistic world, remember), really, no kidding, it was Zeus who did it. Not merely was it Zeus, not some guy, but he was in the form of a swan!
I figured there were a couple of potential show-stopping moments with high comedic potential embedded in this.
The first … and perhaps my favorite scene … would have to be the first act closer. In this highly emotional musical extravaganza, Leda pours out her distress in a heart-rending lyric soprano rich with passion. In it, she explains that it really truly was Zeus.
Leda: Even in the form of a swan, I knew it was Zeus. And you all know how much I love birds and feathers, right? I mean … what girl could resist such a gorgeous bird who is, after all, the top God in the Pantheon? No kidding. I wouldn’t lie to you.
Tyndareus, King of Sparta: I want to believe you, but I’m having a few problems with this.
Leda: Trust me, dear. It was Zeus. As a swan. You know how clever he can be.
Later, we all get to see the central event, Leda’s experience. In the carefully choreographed dream sequence, Leda relives the heady romance of the seduction. I’m assuming it was seduction rather than rape. I mean, how big was that swan anyhow? And, uh, some of the technical aspects of the experience make for interesting mental meanderings. How, exactly, did … well … this is a G-rated site, so I won’t get too specific. Suffice to say it would make one heck of a scene on stage. Even better, now that CGI has come of age, with some well done special effects?
Wow, this could have the audience on its feet! I can hear the applause from here. I see the royalties rolling in. I ought to add that depending on which version of the story you read, Leda either gave birth to babies … or eggs.
Eggs open up a whole new set of possibilities. If she birthed eggs, did she have to sit on them until they hatched? As Queen of Sparta, could she order her court attendants sit on the eggs in her place while she performed her royal duties? Did she build a nest? In the palace? Did the issue of this union feel a lifelong need to dive into lakes and ponds? Were they born knowing how to swim?
Inquiring minds want to know! Details, details. Please?
I’m a bit long in the tooth now for writing a full musical comedy, but I freely offer this incredible concept to anyone who feels inclined to flush it out. I think it might just launch more than one career. You think?
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- Prompts for the Promptless – Ep. 11 – Remake! (rarasaur.wordpress.com)
- Leda and the Swan (davidallsopclassics.wordpress.com)
- Leda and the swan….. (womgdesigns.wordpress.com)
- Leda and The Swan (thesparkystarky.wordpress.com)
- W. B. Yeats – ‘Leda and the Swan’ (emilygostage.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Greek (vancecastiell.wordpress.com)
Days of our lives drifting through my mind...life is forever...right? Our lives were running out of time with only seconds left...run...run from what? Wait...what? RUN NOW!
Looking back now, the images seem almost surreal. Everything that happened to us, happened in a matter of seconds. We were all players, fulfilling our roles in this real life and death drama...only it was our life and death drama and it was very real.
Back at the pond, the important business of nest-building continues. It’s family time on the water where hopefully, Mr. and Mrs. Mute-Swan will take care of business and fill their nest with cygnets. Their babies will become the new generation of swans on Whitins pond.
Later, time enough to go attack those demon geese.
And when the nest building and love-making are done, as the long spring afternoon stretches ahead, Mr. Mute-Swan stretches his wings and heads over to the other side of the pond to harass the Demon Geese who stole his nest. No matter that he has built a new nest and a very fine nest it is.
“Never forgive, never forget” is his motto.
In the assault, note that Mr. Mute-Swan does not actually attack Mr. and Mrs. Canada-Goose directly. Instead, he attacks the nest and its underpinnings. There’s no physical contact between the warring birds. It’s a war of principle, not annihilation.
Perhaps that is one of the differences between “creatures” and “humans.” We actually kill each other for far less worthy reasons than having had our nest stolen. Mostly, animals don’t unless, of course, they are hungry. Or it’s mating season and there’s a SHE to be won. Cherchez la femme, even if you are a bird.
The attack continues.
And again, from another angle … still, with no direct contact.
The geese don’t look all that upset. Perhaps the attack is part of the ritual? And everyone seems to know the rules of the game. They were probably born knowing.
“I think I hear my wife calling,” says Mr. Mute-Swan and he slowly circles the nesting geese one final time. “But I’ll be back. Don’t you think this is over.”
- Battle of the Nests – Chapter 3 (teepee12.com)
- Swans On Our Pond (teepee12.com)
- Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) (ncfscience.wordpress.com)
- A silent ballet for mute swans at Humber Bay (thestar.com)
- Pair of nesting geese takes over a Hunterdon Medical Center parking lot (nj.com)