Outdoors: Black swans

Sep 23, 2020

Leonard Ortiz
Credit Orange County Register

When economists talk about "black swans," they're referring to an unpredictable event, often one with a severe impact.

The year 2020 has certainly had some black swans.

Even during migration, I can't imagine seeing black swans on Green Lake or Duck Lake.

Black swans do appear in the classic ballet "Swan Lake." The premise of this folk tale adaptation is a bit of a stretch because, of all the birds, swans seem most likely to remain loyal to their first love.

The grace demonstrated by black swans en pointe really stretches credibility.

Have you ever seen swans out of water? Not pretty!

On land, swans waddle and stumble for two very good reasons.

One, swans have enormous webbed feet, like the flippers worn by divers. The birds trip on their own toes.

Two, swans' legs are located near their tails. This makes them excellent swimmers and enables them to stretch their long necks under water to poke around for food. But it means the front part of a swan's body simply doesn't balance with its rear end.

I have to say, I have serious issues with the symbolism of a white swan being pure and a black swan being evil. 

There are umpteen alternative endings for the story of "Swan Lake." In most renditions, at the end of the ballet, a spell is broken and a curse is lifted.

For our black swans, we can only hope that soon, the pandemic spell will be broken and we will get beyond the curse of inequity.