Saturday, August 11, 2007

down at the old swimmin hole

It was a sultry 93 degrees when I arrived at home yesterday. I'm glad I live in a state that only has a few of these days per year.

I'm beginning to think a pond is more than a luxury. The pond is our air conditioning, our quick relief, and our cheap entertainment on evenings like this. In retrospect, we were very lucky to have chosen this piece of land with an ideal spot for digging a pond. For one thing, the pond is dug in a fluvial deposit of sand and gravel; for non-geologists, that's sand and gravel deposited by large rivers that formed when the glaciers of the last Ice Age were retreating. There isn't a lot of fine silt in this kind of soil, so the pond water stays very clear, and there's a firm bottom for swimming.

For another thing, it's not too far down to groundwater, so the pond does not rely on runoff. The groundwater keeps the pond cool, and keeps it from drying up, unless the water table drops drastically. However, we are in a drought year, and the water level is way down. Compare the above with this photo from April 2006:

This photo was taken from about 30 feet behind where the first was taken. The lounge chair I was sitting on when I took the photo yesterday would have been in the shallow water in this photo. We did get some rain last night, but it's going to take a lot more to bring the water levels back up where they should be.

Low water or not, we still had fun. Calvin spent a lot of time on the other end of the pond in the kayak, gazing intently into the water. I was wondering what he was up to, but I soon found out.

Turtle hunting. Calvin found not one but two young painted turtles, which now are residing with two others in our Turtle Hotel at the house. I'll have to post on that later.

I was really pleased with the above photo, especially the lighting. I look at it and I see my boy in all the innocence of turtle catching, but at the same time looking more and more like a handsome young man. And look at those eyes--very deep, warm, thoughtful, and sensitive. Much like his dad.

It seems like life just gets more and more hectic, I feel like work takes away too much of my time, like my kids are growing up and I hardly get to spend any time with them. But then I think of moments like this at our pond, splashing and kayaking and turtle hunting, and realize that, for all its hassles and trials, life is...good.


Lynne said...

Deb that is a wonderful picture of your Calvin. You're right in that you've captured both the boy and a glimpse of the man he will become. It's a little haunting and I'm not even his Mom! It might feel like you're not having enough time with them, but I'm sure your kids will have a lifetime of memories with that pond alone. You're giving your kids the kind of life many of us dream of. My hat's off to you.

Deb said...

Lynne- Thank you. It is haunting indeed, thinking my little baby is heading into his preteen years. I was just looking at pictures from the last two years, moving them over to our new huge external hard drive, thinking just two years ago he was so much more childlike! We have had so many good times at the pond, and I smile when I see him out on the kayak. Every kid deserves adventure like that. For me it was a rowboat at my grandparents' lake place.

Madcap said...

I love the light on his skin. He's glowing.

I'm delighted to see my kids becoming adults, but it's hard at the same time. I'm not so good at change.

RuthieJ said...

Deb, your pond looks great. Has your leech problem been taken care of?

Deb said...

madcap- it's not so much the change as the regret I have over not having spent more time with him. But, yeah, I have a hard time with the change. It's never easy.

RuthieJ- I tried a little copper sulfate, and I tried to apply it as conservatively as possible, but I ended up killing a few tadpoles and minnows, while apparently the leeches survived. But the kids seem to not be bothered by them so much now. So we'll try trapping them, maybe. They are worth money for bait!

Floridacracker said...

Boy can I relate ... just about 10 years ahead of you.
Teaching allowed me to spend more time with my kids than most Dads or even a lot of Moms get and I still ask myself where did the time go and could I have done more things with them.
Now with two about to fly, my brain says I spent as much time as possible with them, but my heart says was it enough?

I think your pond is filled with magic.

Larry said...

I'd love to have a pond like that-I'd like to stock mine with trout-I love trout!

Deb said...

FC- I'm sure the feeling is especially strong with two daughters headed out of the nest. Be glad you had all those summers with them!

Larry- If this pond was a little deeper, trout would be in the picture. Maybe someday...