Well first of all you should know that I wear my father’s pilot pin only occasionally. It’s a golden eagle. I don’t wear it more often because I’m afraid I could lose it. This kind of things happen all the time you know. For instance, it could end up in a goose’s crop, like the blue carbuncle.
The fact is I am very fond of geese, particularly Canadian geese. It all started one cold and cloudy afternoon in Calgary, while I was riding the bus from the airport. There was one huge beautiful Canadian goose standing on a rock in the Bow River. It was the bird I was reading about in Douglas Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada. Since then I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of Canadian geese. In Canada of course but also in New England, so many of them in Boston, and in NYC. I saw them in Finland, in the Archipelago, and in England along the tidal Thames. I know they’re introduced, but I wonder if they could actually fly all the way through Shanwick. I was shocked to see them in NZ, introduced of course.
All this is clearly leading to swans. Swans are black in NZ of course, as it happens all swans are black in the Southern hemisphere. It’s a fact I have become aware of only recently. I used to think the occasional black swan in Europe was a genetic variation, like the Kermode bear which is a white brown bear in Canada, not a polar bear. If you happen to care about bear facts.
But cygnets are cygnets, and they are all grey-ish, in both hemispheres. And when someone is talking about swans and at some point he says cygnet, I assume he’s talking about the chicks, but he may be in fact referring to a signet ring. And yes swans are aggressive, as they are described in movies, books, radio (and occasionally fanfiction) and as I personally discovered years ago while swimming in a pond in Berlin. The geographical location of the pond is important here because as you may know it is customary to be naked when spending time in or around a pond in Berlin. Being attacked by a swan while naked is tad awkward.
The bees, what about the bees. My first bee was a mason bee which elected to nest in the insect hotel on my balcony a few years ago. Such an amazing creature. If you are very stll you can observe mason bees as long as you like, they just forget you. Now I have four insect hotels, all occupied by mason bees (lots of lots of lots of bees) and I consider myself a very peculiar beekeeper. I have no interest in social bees, the segregation of the queen or in the queen in general (have you ever read the first chapter of The Second Sex?), solitary bees are much more my thing, each one of them is a queen in her own little way. Solitary bees are the perfect bees for a young sociopath, I believe.