Thursday, July 23, 2009

All Creatures Great and Small - More Fish Tales

I have always wanted a water garden. It just seemed so calm and beautiful with a small, bubbling pool of cool water with plants hanging over the edge of the water looking at their reflection in the water. I have read many articles and how-to's on the joys of water gardening. I have read how to make one that is fairly maintenance free. I have also heard from other people who have had one how easy they are. And, yes Jessi, I have heard how much trouble they are - from more than one person. But this is what I wanted and now I have it.

My small pond is not exactly what I have envisioned, but hey, it's a start! My little tiny, "carny" goldfish are not exactly the huge, beautiful koi that I saw swimming in my water garden. The few flowers that I did manage to get planted don't seem to want to get near the ponds edge (except for the Japanese Bloodgrass, which dips it's blooms into the water every time it rains!). But nobody ever, ever told me about how emotionally hard this is!

After resigning myself to too many fish in too small a pond, I have started feeding them huge amounts of food. I thought everyone was happy and getting along just fine. Then it started raining. My little pond got fuller and fuller. Last night I went out for one last feeding before I went to bed and noticed that the water was trickling over the edge. I got a cup and started bailing water out to lower the water level so that the cats and assorted wild animals that I have been told feed on fish ponds like mine would have a harder time getting to the fish.

Now, you need to picture this. It's almost midnight, it's drizzling rain, and I am standing in the garden barefoot bent over the pond bailing water out by the cupfuls. Also on my mind is that I am dangerously close to the driveway where my little ghost boy likes to hang out. I did announce my presence when I came out the door, but you never know if ghosts really listen - and I do have neighbors. I can't just yell to the ghosts. So, anyway, I'm bent over the pond, when I hear a noise directly behind me. Hoping it's a neighbor, I quickly straightened up and turned. Nothing. Nobody. Not a thing out there but me and the rain. OK, maybe it's a cat. I shift a little to the left so I'm a little closer to the steps and resume bailing water. I hear it again. Damn! Still nothing there, but I'm a little more cautious as I bend over. Just as I dip my cup in the pond something cold, wet, and hard hits my ankles. No, I didn't scream. I wanted to. I tried to. Nothing came out. But I did run up the steps to the safety (???) of the porch.

Now, I've seen my little ghost boy on more occasions than I want to think about, but he has never let me get more than a glimpse of him and he has never, never, ever tried to grab me. So - after my heart slowed to only twice it's normal rate - I edged my way back to the steps and peered down into the garden area. Nothing. I went into the house to get a flashlight because while the pond lights do a lovely job on the pond, they don't do much for the surrounding area. Returning to the porch with the flashlight (and desperately pleading with my ghost boy not to see him tonight) I peered over into the garden. Nothing - then something jump toward me. This time I did scream. Nobody came to my rescue; nobody even peered out of a window. OK. Well, this definitely wasn't a ghost, so I crept forward again.

This time my light was in the right place at the right time and I saw my 'huge, ugly' fish was trying to escape the garden - or find his way back to the pond. Either way, I tried to scoop him into my very small (goldfish sized) net and return him to the pond, but he was too big for the net. I ran inside and dragged my poor husband (who was sound asleep at this point) from the bed and out to rescue the fish. He tried, but it was too late.

This morning my son asked why I was outside screaming in the middle of the night. Not that he came to help me. He just wondered why. I love you too, son.

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