June 3, 2010

Pond Life

I feel very lucky to have a small pond in front of my house; its calm, reflective surface, a break in the bright greens of lawn and trees, welcomes quiet contemplation. Years ago I put a few koi in the pond and they spawned and proliferated; my six koi became thirty or more; I loved watching them floating across the expanse of water. Then, four years ago, tragedy: when the pond thawed in spring, only two koi appeared; a predator must have fed on the fish. I placed a few more koi in the pond, and this spring, new little fish! I feel like a proud mama, watching the ten or so tiny koi beginning their lives amid the water plants.

There are all kinds of insects that enliven the pond; when I sit by the edge of the water on a warm day, I see bugs skittering across its surface, many tiny ones circling above it, and largest of all, the dragonflies, buzzing about. The most beautiful are the small electric-blue flying sticks; to see a group of them flying, their intense color showing bright against the dark green water, is a wonder. Then there are the much larger black and white dragonflies, one with dark wings, the other with wings of fine tracery, looking like a city street map. Hummingbirds and dragonflies move in a similar fashion, with wildly beating wings that disappear in movement; they both hover, and are similarly friendly and curious. When I am rocking on my porch, a flower-seeking hummingbird will sometimes pause for a few moments facing me; I like to imagine it is trying to figure me out. In a similar way, while sitting quietly at the pond, waiting for a dragonfly to alight on a twig for a photograph, it might hover in front of me for a brief time. It's pleasant to think of these events as a kind of communication, however limited.

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