My Pond

Mother Nature and I rarely disagree.

While she may prefers things one way and I prefer them another, most of our disagreements are minor.

Not so with my pond.

Let’s just say, we do not share the same vision.

Her concept is to ring the shore with a curtain of bulrushes and hide that behind an impenetrable barricade of willows.

While I have nothing against bulrushes nor willows, I see them more as accents, not something that should be painted with a broad brush.

As for water, she would cover it with a shroud of green scum then choke the life out of everything beneath with milfoil.

I would rather it be a mirror for the sky and a medium for fish or a surface upon which ducks cut wakes and dragon flies dance.

But for years, she has gotten her way.

As a result my pond has become fetid swamp, a thing so repulsive that the bullfrogs have taken refuge on my lawn.

So how did it all come to be?

Blame the nature of relationships and love.

In every relationship, be it marriage or that between man and nature, there is compromise. We give up something to get something else.

Sometimes it is easy because what we gain is worth so much more than what we give up. Other times it is harder.   We are forced to give up what we truly value but we do it because in the end, we are better off.

But the greatest demand any relationship can ask is to give up who we are.

This demands the greatest love.

Everyone has visions for the world and we all want to leave our mark. This is, in the deepest sense, what it is to be and the greatest sacrifice of all is to give up our dreams.

But that is a risky thing. Asking one to surrender their dreams is to risk turning love into bitterness.

And bitterness best describes what Mother Nature has done to my pond.

It is as if she has given up so much around here to farming and to roads and to towns and cities that she is no longer capable of dreaming healthy dreams.

So it is best that we start over.

Last fall I cut down the willows and trimmed back the bullrushes. I treated the milfoil and the pond scum with a harsh dose of copper-sulfate.

I also ordered a truck load of rock with which to line a stretch of shore.  I will then  plant wild rice in the shallows and disperse water-lillies in the channels.

Then Mother Nature can do what she does best.

Yesterday, the dump truck arrived with the rock.  I ordered it in winter so the wheels could roll over the frozen ground without damaging the soil.

While working out the placement of the load, I got into a tiff with the driver. He is a local guy with a pond all his own and he has ideas of what I should do with mine.

Let’s just say, we do not share the same vision.

As we bickered, my wife came running across the snow.

“Rocks!” she cried, “I have all kinds of ideas of where they should go.”

Author: Almost Iowa

42 thoughts on “My Pond”

  1. I never feel disappointed when I read your writing. We also have a pond, and used to have beaver who enjoyed decorating our trees to the point of no return. Pencil points stuck out of the ground everywhere and the standing trees looked like hourglasses with bark. The funk on the water comes and goes as do the ducks and geese. The good news is the beaver patched a hole in our dam/spillway that my husband had battled for years. A few loads of mud and thwacks with a beaver tail fixed it right up. Now the pond fills and overflows as it should. Then Beaver packed up his tools and moved on, leaving pencil stumps to remember him by.

  2. Loved this! We do all want to leave our mark on the world, but problems arise when we realize that our vision isn’t the same as everyone else’s vision. Once again, you came up with a post that is working on two entirely different levels …

  3. Wow! I don’t know how deep your pond is, Almost Iowa, but this blog post was plenty deep. Of course, you had to bring in your signature humor to lighten the ending. Certainly when we are working on our dreams there are others who render unsolicited opinions along the way. Overcoming obstacles depends on what we are willing to give up to traverse them. Good luck on renewing your pond!

  4. Now that you have finished with the copper sulfate take a tip from a former pond owner. You need a balance of flora and fauna designed to strike a balance. The green stuff is food. Many species of fish eat it eagerly. Other fish love the mosquito eggs and larva. Your local AG extension can give you advice. You also need O2 to keep things going. An aerator works nicely and is nothing but a pump that shoots water into the air. (if electricity is close) Also, a filter can be built out of a box filled with sand or rock or anything that can be washed. Moving the water in and out of the box where the water comes in high and goes out low works well. You can ignore all of this.

    1. I do have electricity to the pond. Believe it or not, my yard used to be a golf course. A former owner built it. I have three greens and multiple tees and sand traps, all now overgrown. The electricity was for the sprinkler system.

      I tried using a bubbler to inject air into the pond – but it did not seem to have much of an impact. I would like to have fish but the pond is only eight feet deep which in Minnesota means you have to inject air into the water (its why I got the bubbler) – but this also makes for dangerous ice.

      Our water is also heavy with iron and manganese which promotes anaerobic bacteria. When I started the bubbler last sprint, the fumes almost knocked me over. That stuff as NASTY.

      I plan to install a large pump and take water off the bottom of the larger pond and create a waterfall in the smaller pond (hence the rocks) where the water can splash and run over the rock for aeration and exposure to sunlight. I also plan to stock it with pan fish and see how they do. I fear the turtles might feast on them though. 🙂

  5. I laughed at your wife’s sudden appearance with a mind all her own. But I enjoyed your reflection on relationships, particularly that with mother nature. I hope your ministrations to the pond bring her joy and she decides to cooperate. I’ll be looking forward to the update this summer. 🙂

  6. I once was asked to give up who I am. It was not a loving demand; it was a demand, pure and simple. Just for good measure, I was asked to give up a dream. Eventually, I refused. You say that sometimes “we are forced to give up what we truly value, but we do it because in the end, we are better off.” I’m not so sure about that.

    1. I thought of all those who dreamed of being full-time artists, musicians, baseball players, tennis stars and marathon runners. Everyone, or near everyone who actually made it, sworn that they did so because they refused to surrender their dreams – but then there are those who also refused to stop dreaming, who never made it.

      There is great wisdom in the proverb that says, if you leap for the stars, you just might land on the roof. What is implied is that you must then be satisfied with landing on a roof.

      I have tremendous respect for those who keep plodding on toward their dream and do so despite the demands of family and work, and who can reconcile giving up who they wanted to be for who they became.

      1. “There is great wisdom in the proverb that says, if you leap for the stars, you just might land on the roof. What is implied is that you must then be satisfied with landing on a roof.”

        Of course, you always could leap again. If nothing else, your landing might be more graceful.

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