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  • I named them Pocha and Alberto, after my parents, because they stayed together through thick and thin.

    I first noticed them in my herb garden, picking at some of my favorite plants, the two giant swans. I stayed still, photographing them from inside the house. I loved the way they waddled away when they sensed my presence.

    I found out they were the natural enemies of the geese, the poopy geese who thought my garden was their toilet. So I decided to befriend Pocha and Alberto, the swans. They seemed to love bread crumbs so my neighbor and I periodically fed them, and our beach became their home. I woke up one morning to a loud banging on my patio door, only to find the male pecking at the glass. Was he knocking?

    Early in the morning, I would walk to the water and call their names, or just call out "hellooooo" and the swans, one first, then the other, would come ashore. They would get real close and I would get real still. Alberto, or was it Pocha, got so close to me one day that I was able to pet his/her head.

    When I went out on the kayak, they followed. They were no longer interested in bread crumbs, just in company. They chased away the geese, keeping the beach clear.

    In the fall, they would practice their flight patterns. They never had babies in all the years I was there, but they were always together, Pocha and Alberto. And then, suddenly, I could see their huge wings take flight, beautiful and graceful as a light feather against the blue fall sky.

    I still remember my father's laughter, when he was still well, when Mr. Alberto the Swan came up to us as we were enjoying a light summer meal.

    I hope he, too, is flying with the wind on his back.



    Les puse el nombre de mis padres, Pocha y Alberto, porque siempre estaban juntos.
    Los vi por primera vez en mi jardín, escarbando en algunas de mis plantas favoritas. Me quedé muy quieta, sacándoles fotos desde adentro. Me encantaba verlos caminar como patos, con su gran peso, cuando sospechaban mi presencia.

    Me enteré que eran los enemigos naturales de los gansos, esos gansos que usaban mi jardín de baño. Entonces decidí amigarme de Pocha y Alberto, los cisnes. Les dábamos migas de pan, y nuestra playa se convirtió en su casa. Una mañana, me desperté oyendo un ruido muy fuerte por la puerta del patio, encontrando al macho golpeando la puerte de vidrio con su pico. Me llamaba?

    En el alba, caminaba hacia la playa y los llamaba, o a veces gritaba un hello muy largo. Y los cisnes, uno, después el otro, llegaban a la playa. Alberto, o a lo mejor fué Pocha, se acercó tanto a mi, que me dejó acariciale la cabeza.

    Cuando salía en kayak, me seguían. Ya no les interesaban las migas de pan, sino la compañía. Siempre perseguían a los gansos, y protegían mi playa.

    En el otoño, practicaban su vuelo. Nunca tuvieron cría, pero nunca se dejaron, Pocha y Alberto. Y un día, de repente, los observaba volar, hermosos, elegantes, y suaves como una pluma blanca sobre el cielo otoñal.

    Recuerdo la risa estridente de mi papá cuando todavía estaba bien, cuando Alberto el cisne se acercó a nuestra mesa durante una cena de verano.

    Espero que él tambien esté volando con el viento en sus espaldas.
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