We have a small pond, about 650 gallons, outside our front door. Of all of our garden challenges, this is the one about which we know the least.
And that’s saying something.
But our lack of understanding in the rest of our garden provides us with a more direct form of education. When we make mistakes, plants die. The cause and effect follow quickly upon one another, and we learn (though may not retain what we learn) quickly.
With the pond, the results of neglect and our lack of skill reveal themselves gradually, the symptoms building upon one another until suddenly it’s clear something’s off, we must do something about it. We never know just what route is best. Three different research tactics will yield six answers. What caused the problem this time? No one can say for sure. The pond leaves us shrugging a lot. Renewing our ability to submit to the mysteries of life.
That is, caring for a pond is a lot like caring for a human body.
I mean, who the hell knows?
The experts don’t always know. They can’t agree. There may be several routes to success, any of them triggering a different form of failure in some other system.
It’s all very murky.
We’ve been out of town for a while, and we returned to find the pond choked with stringy algae. Of course we didn’t know what the stuff floating in the pond was. The “string algae” diagnosis came from the pond lady at the nursery where we bought a prescription that “should” take care of the problem.
That and a new pump and hose and filter.
And some other enzymes and stuff.
And water plants.
After pushing our family back into poverty, I spent the better part of the day up to my knees in murky, mucky pond water, pulling fistfuls of algae out of the water, laying in a new pump, building a rather pretty little waterfall, if I may say so, trying very hard not to terrify the resident frogs.
I thought the job would be disgusting, but it was surprisingly, uh, cathartic?
Because, what a great metaphor. You know?
It’s easy for us to become stagnant through neglect, isn’t it? And while we don’t fill up with algae, necessarily, we have our own forms of pond scum. It might be extra fat, blood lipids, too much insulin. Our surfaces cloud up. Our inner frogs have to fight for oxygen.
I’ve had an imbalanced week. Didn’t work out nearly as much as I should have, ate way more sweet stuff than my body can tolerate. I need more pump, more barley, more attention, more care. More awareness, more deliberate action. Less passivity.
I need to do the work, put in the time.
Tonight I’ll open my window to let in the sound of the new pond waterfall. I’ll post this and enjoy an hour or so of gentle yoga with soft music. And I will lay out my gear and wake in the morning to enjoy a long run before gathering with my crew to honor the dads.
I promise myself a week of better breakfasts. I’ll challenge myself to a sugar-free week.
What promises will you make to yourself today? What tonics will balance your bio-system? What new pump will you install? What will you work to fix, and how, to keep your frogs happy?
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