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Black Swan Of The Lake

 

Ringwood Lake is a popular park in the Melbourne suburb of (surprise surprise) Ringwood. If you ever spent time there in the 80's or 90's chances are you encountered the black swan. No one knew where it came from, my parents suspect someone dumped it there. But I doubt that. This swan was the only swan in the area and lived at the lake for, well I don't know how long, but he was there for a good ten years while I was growing up.

The park grounds are immense, the lake itself is very wide. I haven't been there in over twenty five years so I'll be describing the park as it was back then. I hope it's not changed since, it was always very natural and beautiful. The kind of park that took care of itself, without much human intervention.

We visited Ringwood Lake a lot. Then in 1990 we moved to Ringwood and days at the lake became far more frequent.

On one side of the lake was a large playground set amongst the trees with numerous BBQ areas, tables, chairs and a few undercover shelters. In front of this was a small pier into the lake. Further up was a formal lawn, with (I think from memory) maples and conifers which backed onto the local pub. Further still a bush trail, and on to another playground.

On the other side of the lake it was weeping willows which cascaded into the lake, beyond them other grand tall trees all overgrown and gnarly. This was the natural reserve style side, which was left largely untouched by man. It was here where the majority of wildlife lived.

We only lived in Ringwood for a year and during that year the lake became a second home. The novelty of living so close to this previously far away lake never wore thin. Playgrounds were fun for about five minutes but, even as a child, my heart was drawn to nature. So most of my time was spent wandering around the lake and trees.

During the summer months people would swim in the lake. There was a shallow section near the pier, this is where most people entered the lake from. In all those years I'd never swam in the lake. But one summer day was different. I had a real thing about taming that swan, I was obsessed. On this day the swan was hanging out on the other side of the lake by the willows, away from all the people. From the lake's edge I'd been watching him. Figured if I got in the water I could coax him over for a pat.

Now, my mother is a bit of an animal hoarder and she's pretty unconventional. So when I asked 'Hey Mum, can I get in the lake and pat the swan?' her reaction was 'Yeah, but don't go in too deep'.

Cool, so with that I kicked off my shoes and marched on in wearing my clothes. What the hey, with unconventional parents, who needs swimming gear? I guess it was growing up with a Dr Doolittle home life, but somehow I 'knew' I could get this swan over for a pat and, well, that's what happened.

Being 9 at the time it didn't take long for the water to reach my chest, probably 15 to 20 feet from the lake's bank is about as far as I was comfortable going. Mum watched on from dry land. Being a hot day there were people in the water. I began beckoning the swan over by lightly slapping the water surface while saying something like 'come on'. Similar to how you'd call a dog over. Hey, I was 9, it seemed like a good idea. Well, the swan seemed to know what was what 'cause he watched me for a good while.

After what seemed like a long time, with a few snide remarks from some older kids thrown in for good measure, the swan started swimming over. I'm not sure how wide the lake is at that section but I'd guess maybe 70 or so ft. It took a while for swanny to make the journey across from the willows. This was one of those moments as a child that clued me in to how unconventional my mother is, as the surrounding parents and kids started backing away in a purple panic.

I hadn't exactly thought this through, the water was lapping around my collar bone and at this depth the swan levelled about a foot taller than me. This was now far more pressing than my newfound talent as aquatic bird whisperer. For the close proximity could soon be measured in centimetres, making this one formidable encounter not to scoff at. We had ducks at home and I considered myself well versed on aggressive traits, of which the swan showed none. So I extended a hand slowly, which was met with a keenly attentive bill, expecting food. I hadn't any food to give and up close his red and white bill appeared more weaponry than it ever did from a distance.

There was I not really knowing quite what to do next. Meanwhile people were gathering on the banks and on an overhead bridge, many of them taking pictures.

After a few awkward moments the swan seemed to realise I had no food. Funnily enough I can't remember if I ever pat him or not. What I do remember is swimming around with him for a short while and feeling comfortable with that. But then realised the swan was following me closely every which way I turned. I feared if I retreated quickly he'd pursue even faster. Imagine your eye level is about a foot below a swan, it's quite unsettling to say the least. But I was super glad for the experience. After about two minutes of this I swam toward the pier, thinking I'd go underneath, flank him, and reach land on the other side. Well, the swan was showing no signs of being fooled.

When I reached the pier someone was standing there. The person was dry and fully clothed, unlike the majority of people on the bank. I only saw shoes and trouser legs and worried it was a park ranger come over to tell me off or something. But when I looked up there was no one there. This happened very quickly, in between backward glances at the pursuing swan. I scanned the pier, no one there.

Some older kids clamoured back in the water, approaching. Their sudden eagerness to reach the swan collapsed against the water, jutting it out in waves and splashes. Well, swanny was having none of this and after a brief awkwardness with the older kids, he wisely swam back toward the other side of the lake.

Content I'd completed my mission, I headed back. My saturated clothes bucketed down in waterfalls as I left the lake. Some parents were throwing dagger looks at Mum and I was met with apprehension in the playground. This is a glimpse of my unconventional upbringing. I never identified as a misfit, I figured everyone else needed to catch up. In a way I guess the black swan was quite metaphoric, poetic even.

Last night I dreamed about that day, hadn't thought about it in years, let alone dream about it, I never have.

In the dream I was in the water at the end of the pier. I looked up to the pier and there stood my guardian looking down at me. He's not real big on expressions, but he seemed calm. I realised 'Oh, it was you that day, yeah that makes sense' and woke up. There was no one around in the dream, no swan, no people in the park. Also, in contrast to the actual day, in the dream the weather was overcast and dark. I wouldn't read too much into that, as I quite like dark rainy weather. Also it felt like morning, first light. Where as on the actual day it was afternoon.

Recently I've been put through the mill with family dramas. Haven't had a visitation dream from him in years, so this was pretty cool. Regarding the timing and context of everything, I believe he's reminding me of what makes me who I am, why I do what I do, and to stay strong. Possibly also letting me know that 'yes' he is 'watching', even when I don't hear from him. (I haven't in a few months) I've a feeling I need to reconnect with a part of myself from those Ringwood days, I'm still figuring that out.

Well all that lead me to relive, rethink and write about that day at the lake, where the physical world happenings were far more eventful than the paranormal ones. No offense to my guardian, getting a confirmation of sorts twenty some years later is a total blast. Something totally awesome about that.

Thanks for reading.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Tweed, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
2 months ago (2017-10-04)
Hi Dan, glad you enjoyed it. 😊 I don't think swans are all that common in Melb, plus they usually dwell in pairs. So it's baffling where that one originated from. It might have been a relic from a failed breeding attempt in Victoria from when the lake was originally made. It's a man made lake and gardens from as far back as the 1920's I think.

Magpies are awesome. They also hold an impressive title of one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They're super fussy about who they trust, so as long as you keep on their good side you can ensure you won't get swooped come breeding season! 😆
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
+1
3 months ago (2017-08-15)
Tweed Great account, I was drawn to this story as the Black Swan is our state animal in Western Australia, funny I thought they were only ever seen here, can resonate with being a bit apprehensive by them. I remember being chased by them a few times when I was younger, trying to feed them but getting to close to their young ones haha.
So great to be able to have a connection with animals like that, I myself have been drawn to a big family of Magpies that come to our yard everyday presently.

Thanks for sharing

Dan
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-10-02)
Didn't see links. Dang. Haven't done much e-mail. Looking forward to a chat.
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-10-02)
😲 Hecate! I miss you too, been thinking of you the last few weeks. Will get emailing. Was going to anyway, eventually, you've sped up the process. Glad you enjoyed reading this.😊

Alicat, thanks for your kind words.😊 Oddly enough I think black swans are native to Australia, probably elsewhere too. Was a teenager the first time I encountered a live white one lol.

There's some recent pics of the park in the links below.
Glad you enjoyed this too.
Allicatt (5 stories) (68 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-10-01)
I loved reading about this, it sounds like the park was absolutely beautiful. I have never witnessed a black swan in real life before but it sounds amazing. It takes a kindred gentle spirit for a wild animal to approach like that. Thanks for sharing this.
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-09-30)
Not sure if you are reading your comments. Loved this. Miss you. Email me.
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-07-15)
Ashar, thanks for your lovely comment. 😊

While typing this up I searched for Ringwood Lake out of curiosity but frustratingly next to nothing relevant came up. However, I just searched for 'Ringwood Lake Park' and had more luck. Here are some recent photos of the place:

This is the pier, the swan swam from an area in the right of the thicket:
Http://www.weekendnotes.com/display-image/2/15314/img08211.JPG
The pier in that photo is a larger one to the original one from the early 90's. But it's in the same location.

Here's another angle showing the bridge and pier to the left:
Http://www.weekendnotes.com/display-image/2/15314/img081031.JPG
Unfortunately it seems all the willows have since been removed. They have a bad reputation for causing damage with their roots, sad they're now gone, but not surprised.

This is taken from the other side of the lake. The playground to the left, BBQ area near the center and formal lawns to the right:
Http://www.weekendnotes.com/display-image/2/15314/img08231.JPG
The tide is most certainly IN lol! Very high water level compared to when I was a kid.

All these pics are giving me goosebumps of the nice kind.😳

This is the source of these pics:
Http://www.weekendnotes.com/ringwood-lake-park/
ashar123 (6 stories) (167 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-07-13)
On every of your story I do comment that you really write so well and I clearly have no words about it.

Coming to the paranormal part, the experience was not creapy or terrifying but was very calm and interesting. Something that happened years ago is clearly in your mind and you recalled it in the way as it happened just previous month.

By your writing I can actually see that park. The lake, the swanny, everything and the place seems enormously beautiful. If I ever got a chance to visit Melbourne, I would like to go to that place.

Thanks for Sharing! 😊 😊 😊
RedWolf (28 stories) (1251 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-10)
Tweed
I loved Steve Irwin it was a great shock when he died and how he died. I was depressed for days. I can relate to what he said about being able to understand what animals are thinking and being on the same wavelength. I can't explain it either but like you I can do the same. When I go to my Vets office and there are a lot of dogs there they all wait for me to pet them, some won't let me stop petting them.
Regards
Red
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-07)
DandK, I sympathise with your concern with redevelopment culture, I feel the same. Though I feel greed is the driving force of destruction.

I poke fun at the 'snooty' parents on this day. But I assume they were reacting from a mixture of alarm over safety, or an assumed neglect for safety, together with the annoyance of having their time interrupted when the swan came over, I can understand that. I think it was nothing more than a culture clash.

My guardian only speaks occasionally, sometimes in dreams. When I was little he used to speak while I was playing, always while I was alone. It sounded like it was in my ear, different to in the room, for example.
DandK (9 stories) (287 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-07)
Tweed, thanks for sharing your story. It is interesting that your guardian shows up in your dreams, yet doesn't talk and let's you work out the meaning. Have you had an experience where he speaks to you, and if so, is it in your head that you hear it?

I have a different interpretation of the looks that you got from the other parents. It might have been nature-protective, not one of thinking you were in any sort of danger or risk.

I view human/nature interactions as one where I like to give nature as much peace as I can. The reason is that every day I see another field leveled for a new housing development or apartment complex, or some other man-made convenience. The creatures that live there are displaced which has a ripple effect. This goes the same for the destructive 40 acre ranchettes or cabins in the woods where everyone wants to control their property and what they allow to live on it, plant or animal. Where to go then to see what's left of nature? Head up to a campground with a ton of people and their trailers and 4 wheelers, making a racket and disturbing the creatures that make it their home? It's not enough that we've marked our own territories via cities and neighborhoods, but now we've got to disturb the last vestiges of their few remaining habitats?

It's possible those folks wanted to set aside the reality of our lack of nature due to our own destruction, and look at the swan enjoying itself, without a human jumping into their fantasy image. And then hop in their cars and drive home to their sterile yards and put out a little weed and bug killer on some unsightly plant. And pull up their lawn chair and commune with their lawns. Which they just finished mowing so that it now looks good and tidy.

Another possibility is that they worried you might hurt the swan. I've experienced many a cruel person with no respect for life. An example is the time a few folks from work went to the lake as a group one weekend. One of the guys, about 40 years old, thought it was funny to smash toads heads with a rock. His wife asked him to stop, I asked him to stop, but that just got him going even more. So, hmmm. What the neck do you do in that situation when you're stuck on a little island in the lake and this guy owns the boat? The crazy dude stopped after we started ignoring him. In any case, concern for animal welfare is a big thing that drives lots of folks. They aren't thinking nature is icky, but rather nature is precious.

Maybe your guardian inspired you to write this story, which produces a long reaching ripple effect as well. Sometimes I wonder if a guardian isn't trying to give us a message, but to reach someone through us.
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-06)
BGP wow! That's pretty much all I got 😲
I don't think I could EVER pick up ANY raptor! I'd be waaay to scared!

I wonder what that hawk was thinking 'hmm they'll never notice me mingling with the pigeons' 😆
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (369 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-06)
Tweed & Red-
You've reminded me of when we had a very large pigeon coop. It had a big door you could walk into and inserted on it was a smaller pull down door for them to get out and fly around as they pleased. (god how I wished for them to fly away! Lol) The hawks would snag one or two once in awhile and I'd tell hubby, it's okay, hawks gotta eat to.

One day a hawk had flown into the coop. My hubby panicked and came running into the house shouting for the gun and screaming about the hawk. I said, "It's illegal to shoot hawks and my law is you don't shoot ANYTHING here!"

So I got up, walked out to the coop, opened the big door and walked right up to the big bird. Sharon, my neighbor, and hubby were screaming at me to get some gloves but none were available. Just as I got to him I looked him right in the eye and thought, I'm not going to hurt you and gently put my hands around him, walked him out of the coop and let him go. It was very surreal. He didn't tense up, he didn't panic or try to get away or rip me to shreds. It was like, yeah, no worries. It's all good.

He flew up, circled around three times with his EEEEE, EEEEEE, EEEEEEEE and took off. It was one of the most exhilarating and unforgettable times I've ever had. 😊
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-06)
Seraphina, thank you for your kind words. 😊
I have a habit of half typing things up and then thinking of something else to type up and eventually coming back to something else weeks or months later, confusing I know lol. However, this was typed up and submitted a day or so after the dream, highly unusual for me.😆
As for being here to teach, I get told that a lot. Don't know how I feel about it, because I'm not sure I'm a very good teacher!

Red, I remember you sharing that bear moment on another thread last year, that was very amusing. But the deer I was unaware of, that would've been incredible. They're such timid animals, you must have been very calm with them. A very lucky encounter!
I remember watching Steve Irwin interviewed once and he spoke about knowing what an animal was thinking, being on the same wavelength and that sort of thing. He said he'd always been able to do it and that he couldn't really explain it. I found myself understanding exactly what he meant.
Although I'm sure Steve annoyed a lot of animals in his time, he always loved them a bit too long with many appearing intent on escaping his grasp. But I can't help but like the guy. There definitely seems to be 'something' we tap into when interacting with animals.
RedWolf (28 stories) (1251 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2016-06-06)
Tweed
You and I are a lot alike when it comes to animals. There are several parks not too far from my house. One evening my husband we went to McDonalds for dinner and afterwards we went to the one park to see if we could find any deer. We found a small herd and I told everyone to stay in the van. I cautiously walked up to the herd which spooked them a little. I sat on a wooden railing and one of them walked up to me and started licking my hands as I had salt from the fries on them. I reached up and started stroking his fur and ears. It was truly an amazing experience. We also have a conservation park not to far away that have confiscated animals such as 2 bears, two rescued Bald Eagles and so on, neither of these are indigent to Long Island. People always want pictures of the bears but both were laying down. I calld to one saying some people wanted to take pictures. He sat up and everyone was amazed as he started waving at the crowd. My kids had my camera so I did not get a picture of this. I'm sorry this was so long.
Regards
Red
Seraphina (7 stories) (147 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2016-06-05)
Tweed, what a pleasure to encounter three stories in a row written by you 😁 Masterful descriptions, unique situations and genuine reflections on your spiritual experiences... You must be here to teach and inspire.
Blessings,
Seraphina
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-05)
Mystic, yep to all three. 😊

50 character limit, still need more words...that's got it.
MysticFrance (3 stories) (28 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-05)
Hi Tweed. Oh, it was your guardian again! But you spent your earlier years in Australia, right? Then you moved to U.K? Does this mean that your guardian followed you from Australia to U.K?:-)
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
BGP lol, that's a fine observation about the current state of social affairs, I agree completely.
I've been thinking about this since I submitted it. There seems to be something right in front of me that I'm missing with this. That dream after all those years of what I previously thought of as 'the ranger ghost', because that's who I thought the ghost must have been for years, some former park ranger. I'll figure it out eventually, just puzzling in the meantime.

I'm glad you enjoyed this so much, thanks! 😊
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
Formoka, thank you for the compliment. I'm working on something at the moment. 😊
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (369 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
This one's going into my favs Tweed. We need more hippie dippie mom's like yours in this world. Sadly, they're fading out and being replaced with uptight, over protective, fear mongering zealots who shouldn't be breeding. Just my opinion. 😉

You were clearly in the same zone as the swan and made a connection. The swan didn't see you as any kind of danger and obliged your kind thoughts. Probably while watching your guardian the whole time as he stood behind you on the dock. 😆
Formoka (1 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
This story is really well written. Have you ever thought of writing a book about your experiences?
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
Logan, that's one lucky puppy! Weird how no one else stopped.😕 I can understand not wanting to risk stopping for a potentially dangerous/unpredictable animal, but a puppy?! That's really odd.
It must have been so cool to see her after that night. Jeesh, I wonder what brought on that trance, I don' think I've ever encountered a dog doing anything like that before, poor thing.
logan (3 stories) (219 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
Tweed,

What an amazing experience, I can imagine how special it must have felt that the Swan reciprocated. Animals are just so weird and wonderful!

About 7/8 years ago, I remember one time when I was headed back home in the evening after work, I saw this thing in the middle of the road. Every other car, truck, bikes etc kept going around it, as my cab got closer to this thing... I suddenly realized it was a puppy of about 5/6 months! My immediate reaction was that of disbelief and in that moment of confusion, while I did a double take at looking properly to check I was seeing a puppy... My cab went around it too. As soon as we were past the poor thing, I got my senses back and asked the driver to please turn the car back at the next intersection which was only minutes away. We came back around to the same road in a few minutes and stopped right behind the puppy so no other vehicle could go over it by mistake. I got off and went closer, she was just sitting there looking blank and she was actually in shock probably by being hit by a car/bike. Cutting a long story short - without scaring her I gave her my hand and she immediately kind of snapped out of her trance and looked at me confused for 30 sec and then just got up and started walking to the sidewalk. I stayed behind her, stopping vehicle's while she crossed over. Once on the other side, checked her legs and she was actually fine... Someone might have just about bumped her. She was walking normal, wagging her tail and jumping on me as well. Gave her a few biscuits and then she ran over to the family that stayed/camped around the corner by the sidewalk. She was safe, she was fine!

Felt so good that day, I don't know why no one bothered to help her. Took me all of 10 minutes to do this but I felt so good for a long time. Still do when I think of it.

PS: For those of you who wonder why I left her there - where I come form we have a lot of stray dogs who run around the city. Mostly they are very good in taking care of themselves and many are adopted by local residents who feed them and look out for them. In many cases families like the above who sell stuff on the sidewalks adopt them and feed them. So for me the main thing was she was ok and also had a family that look out for her. It was just bad luck on that day that she kind of got caught in that situation. I saw her several times on my way to and from work after that day, so she was ok after all.
Tweed (22 stories) (2036 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-06-03)
Kindly, wow that's so cool you know Ringwood! I love that station, it was always so old fashioned. Apparently it hasn't changed much since, pretty happy about that.
I guess you were impacted by the Ash Wednesday fires, man that's heavy stuff. 😢 I was too young to remember that day in great detail. There was another horrendous fire only a few years ago dubbed 'Black Saturday'. We always lived in places close to the Dandenong ranges but my parents avoid living too rural because of bushfire fears. My aunty lost her home during the Ferny Creek fires in the mid 90's. That bloody fire took her home but stopped burning only a few meters away. Her BBQ and water tank were completely untouched. There's no words for it really.

Val lol, Mum was pretty oblivious to the daggers, she was happily chatting to a couple of like minded hippies by the time I got out. I don't understand some people either. It's like 'hey, let's go to the lake and frolic in the water, but don't get too close to nature.' Bunch of Mr Mackeys from South Park if you ask me, 'let me tell you something about nature mmmkay,...nature's bad, mmmkay'.
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-02)
Tweed,
I don't understand why those parents would shoot you and your Mom angry looks, but sometimes I just don't understand people - at all.
I thought your words painted a lovely picture of the lake, making it quite easy to understand why you would love it. I thought it sweet.
Kindly_refrain (12 stories) (149 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-06-02)
Hi Tweed, interesting account.

I thought I'd let you know that I was in Ringwood 5 years ago at the train station, with my wife. In 1983 I was there many times and believe I have been to that lake. I was living with some great people in the Dandenong mountains outside of Lillydale and after the bushfires burned that house down I lived with some other folks near Mount Evelyn. I have great memories of your country and the people. I do not recall the swan but the timing seems close.

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