Tuesday 13 April 2004

pond life

Paul waved to me from the backyard, telling me to come have a look at the pond. Hundreds of tiny, gelatinous sacs floated on the surface, each containing a tiny black fluttering speck. The frogs have been by for a visit, and a good time was obviously had by all. We kneeled next to the pond and watched the floating orbs for a while, wondering if the goldfish would eat them all and trying to figure out where all the frogs had gone in the meantime.

A couple of weeks later, the pond's surface is rippling madly with the frantic squiggles that have broken from the eggs. During the day, they hide under rocks or latch themselves on to the pond weed. During dusk and dawn, they swarm by the thousands at the shallow end of the water. Paul's spotted a newt, which we have named Wayne (think Wayne Newton, and you'll see where we're going with this). A small brown fish has appeared this year, which we have very unimaginatively named Brownie. Paul's removed the wire fencing that kept small puppy Jasper away from the water, but Jasper hasn't really noticed yet and shows more interest in eating grass and staring at the birds that sit on our neighbour's aerial.

Today, the squiggles are bigger (they look more like frogs with long tails and no limbs) and some frogs have begun to splash around the pond. We see Wayne very briefly; more like a glimpse of his tail as he dives underwater. Brownie is very hard to spot because he blends so well into the murky water. We're still trying to figure out how a brown fish got into a pond full of goldfish. A goldfish sucks a tadpole into its mouth and quickly spits it back out again. I guess they won't eat them after all.

We stand in the sun and watch the pond for a long time, and we'll do this every day throughout the rest of the spring and summer. When people talk about hidden features they only discover after they move into a house, surely they must be talking about things like this.

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