Posts Tagged ‘pond’

I was determined this morning to get some time out on one of my porches before the onslaught of work began. There’s plenty on my desk plus a scheduled quick trip to the vet.  It’s easy to get up and take care of the necessary house stuff then dive into work with nary a moment of peace on these still-cool mornings.

So I put off making breakfast and brought my coffee to the shady back porch and sketched a bit. Then I closed my eyes and just listened. I heard the gentle gurgling of the neighbor’s pond which is partially behind my home; the GUNK! of one of the froggy residents; I distinctly recognized a cat bird and a sparrow singing, and at least 5 others that I was not able to identify. There was some machine humming in the distance, an occasional vehicle some blocks away, but these were barely noticeable. There was not one human to be heard. It was peaceful.

In looking about me I saw two goldfinches zipping back and forth in tandem and a few chimney swifts flitting about high in the sky. At the edge of the porch, bumblebees were pushing their way into the lavender hosta flowers. A medium size rust beetle was seemingly trying to bury himself – or perhaps burrow – in the corner by the back door, an impossibility, of course. I couldn’t imagine his purpose but he was way off course, so I took a piece of paper and transported him down into the hosta, where at least it was a more natural environment for him.

When I did get to breakfast, I made sure to include one of the fresh peaches from my local farm stand. This quiet morning was a great start. The only downside? I couldn’t stay for hours.

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My neighbors rebuilt their pond – it’s magnificent. I watched the fish as they initially huddled together, sometimes at the very bottom of the pond when temperatures were cold, but at others, it seemed, for security. Every movement was made as a group, their little school. In barely a week and a half they have settled in, and now explore, swimming alone or with a few others, then back in the larger group, all dictated by needs and desires of which I can only surmise.

They frolic in the waterfall, dive, dart and occasionally leap splendidly in the air and splash down. I could watch them all day; they are mesmerizing. Observing a pattern of life so vastly different from my own – and yet so elementally the same – brought to mind a favorite quote.

It’s by Henry Beston from The Outermost House, A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod, written in 1928. This quote prompted me to pick up the book at the annual library sale, a perfect summer read.

“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” 

This quote has lived in my heart for over two decades and resonates deeply with my own love for animals. The fishes’ world may be a simple pond, but they are a nation of their own.

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