You remember what Robert Frost says about April:
\”You know how it is with an April day….
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you\’re two months back in the middle of March.\”
And here we are just at the beginning of March. But who can resist thinking it\’s spring? The sun is warm. The snow, softer underfoot each morning. And the chickadees are sounding like they really mean it.
The dogs are going crazy with the new scents, and I am going crazy with new projects. Work on the wattle fence continues. So far four person hours (me: three; spouse: one) have not quite finished one of seven fence panels. But I am not discouraged. Already the dwindling snow makes reaching the stick piles in the woods easier. By summer\’s end, we\’ll have a real wattle fence obscuring our prosaic wire fence.
This morning, we had a \”pond man\” look over our land for places to build a natural pond. It was a little like having your child tested for an exclusive kindergarten. I showed him the four places on our property that stay wet most of the year, places where there might be a spring that would magically flow into and keep alive a pond and its denizens. He took one look and shook his head. The water on our land, he said, was \”nuisance water,\” nothing abundant or fast-flowing enough to nourish a real pond.
We trudged back to the house, crestfallen. A place needs water, I\’ve always felt, to be alive. I said this to the pond man– who builds ten-acre ponds for New York millionaires who want to relax in Vermont–and he conceded that we might be able to have a \”garden pond.\” By garden pond he means something artificial, something filled with a garden hose. Something with a pump and a liner and god-knows-what-else.
He gave us the name of a garden-pond landscaper, who would advise us on the placement and maintenance of the pond, and which he–the pond man–would scoop out with his big machines in a morning\’s time, and which I would maintain, clean and aerate for the rest of my life.
But I would have water, frogs, salamanders, and even fish, and who can put a price on that?