When I was about seven years old, we visited the Phoenix zoo as a family. I wandered off to get close to a stream, deep in thought and unaware that I'd headed near a mother and her cygnets. She came at me in a fury, flapping her wings and honking. All I could see was the breadth of those wings, which when extended were as wide as a car door. I froze and then spun around to find my mother. I spotted her on the path and as the swan descended upon me, I bolted into my mother's arms. A zookeeper got in between me and the mother swan and managed to distract her. Once she had quieted down, he approached me and my mother. "You got too close to her babies," he told me. "And good thing you ran. A hit from those wings would have felt like you got hit with a baseball bat."