Dialogue with the Body

dedicated to cleanliness

I watched two swans go through their lengthy preening process, cleaning and smoothing their feathers with the help of their beak.

How did they know which feathers needed tidying up and re-arranging? Could they feel somehow the slightest tension of feathers out of place? The way we would feel hair matting down or the slightest weight of something foreign on our skin?

Did they know how to clean themselves by learning from their parents, through pure instinct or a combination of both?

How do we know how to clean ourselves? First our mother washes us and then we begin to use soap and shampoo and lotions on our own as we get older. Some people do a pretty good job at it while others don’t seem to be so aware of greasy hair, dirt under the fingernails, stains on their clothing, or simply don’t care.

And beyond cleanliness, what else do we need to know from our body to keep ourselves in good health, agile, and capable of all the functional movements necessary for daily activities?

Mirror, mirror on the wall

The swan was able to reach remote areas of the body with its long, strong neck that moved like a snake, from one side to the other side, and all the way to the tail feathers.

It used its neck to smooth down the feathers, in a sensual, delicious, massage-like motion. It reminded me of graceful yoga exercises that extend the spine and keep the body flexible.

textured side feathers

A final spreading of the wings to ensure everything was in its proper place:

wing spread

And off they went into the pond playground

two swans heading into the water

I left a satisfied voyeur and with a sense of wonder about the dialogue we have with our own bodies. The body tells us when it is uncomfortable, in pain, or in need of movement. The appearance of skin, hair, and fingernails…. the light in our eyes… our posture and gait… an inner sense of something being aligned or something else being out of balance…. a rumbling in the stomach or quickly dropping energy to indicate that we need to eat… an inner longing for touch and affection… a strong sense of arousal when we feel in danger….

Our body is constantly talking. Do you listen?

More posts on “Dialogue” at the Weekly Photo Challenge.

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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12 Responses to Dialogue with the Body

  1. Beautiful pictures! 🙂


  2. Carol says:

    I agree with Michael. As to listening – I try.


  3. happyface313 says:

    🙂 Beautiful examples of dialog. I like swans and it always amazes me to watch them do what they do.
    Have a very HAPPY day! 🙂


  4. Gorgeous pictures. Swans always look so beautiful, but not all humans do. 🙂


  5. Paula says:

    I try to listen and to pay attention 😉 This is a clever and cute post. I love your interpretation and your swan close-up photos.


  6. Reblogged this on The Beauty Along the Road and commented:

    I enjoyed re-reading this post from 5 years ago….and I am still an admirer of swans (even as I learned about some of their not-so-flattering traits) and of listening to our body….


  7. Suzanne says:

    Great photos. Your thoughts on our relationship with our own body are interesting too. It can be hard to listen sometimes.


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