One day not too long ago I went canoeing with a friend. We came through a narrow passage to a wide stretchof water where 17 swans sailed in serene silence (we counted). As if the universe had decided to deliver a sign, one spread its wings and began to run across the water. Webbed feet beat a cadence on the pond’s surface (flump-flump-flump-flump) as it raced miraculously in a straight line crossing right to left in front of the canoe. Only after a hundred yards of running on water did it lift into the air. It rose and turned and soared, circling back to where it had begun. The others sailed on harmoniously as if their companion’s running and lifting was a composer’s intentional counterpoint to their deliberate, sonorous theme. What is a human being to think when something like this happens? It was like being present at the moment of creation. Awe and gratitude suffuse my being even in memory. Yet how commonplace it was for the swans; wholly themselves, they are beautiful even when we humans aren’t there to see. This is the miracle of life. We must learn to perceive it even when it’s not unfolding before our eyes.