Spent the morning amidst the primal ooze at the bottom of the pond. You\’ve got to be madly in love with a pond to go through the spring cleaning it requires. It\’s kind of like changing a baby\’s diapers: foul, but you do it because the end result is fair.
In the pond\’s case, the fairness will happen in a couple of weeks, when the lily pads rise to the surface of the water. Then the frogs will migrate in from the woods and we\’ll have music as well as circus acts throughout the day.
But in the meantime, ugh! Although my job is made more tolerable by a pair of gloves that my daughter gave me–thick rubber with a soft cotton lining, and they reach all the way up to my shoulders–mucking out the pond is utterly gross.
On pond-cleaning day my husband sets up a siphon with a hose, which sucks up the water very slowly. Meanwhile, I kneel at the edge of the pond and with a racket-type contraption scoop up as much stinky gunk as I can reach. Then I shake the gunk into a bucket and deposit it on the vegetable beds (waste not, want not).
Today\’s bottom-of-the-pond take consisted of a million leaves from the ash tree across the yard; two dead fish; about a thousand drowned earth worms and a couple of live ones (why hadn\’t they drowned?); the long, gelatinous remains of many water lily stems; and five extremely wiggly salamanders–or one salamander that got scooped up five times.
The scooping usually goes on for three hours or so, by which time the siphon starts clogging up and I\’m exhausted, my knees hurt from kneeling on stone, and I figure that a 50% water change should suffice to keep the pond ecology going for another year.
While the pond fills with nice clean water from the hose, I take another look at the vegetables with their side dressing of pond gunk and think about all that fairness-yielding foulness, all that death leading to new life. When you live close to the earth, after a while those fair/foul distinctions start to fade. I picture how much good that black slime is doing to my broccoli, and the smell doesn\’t seem so bad.