ponder the meaning of 'pond'
by Terry Miller Shannon
I mention our "pond problem," Craig snorts. "Our
only 'pond problem' is that we don't have one!" Here's
the thing: Craig wants to build a pond. I want to build a pond.
But if that sounds like we're in harmonious agreement, you don't
know us very well. My perfect pond would be about as big as
a mixing bowl. My husband's idea of a reasonable size would
easily accommodate the Olympic team practicing the butterfly
when Craig began talking about his pond-yen, I didn't want one
at all. Uh-uh, no way, no how. "Won't it attract mosquitoes?"
I asked. "Won't it turn murky and mucky?" And "Gosh,
if we want to look at a body of water, why don't we drive two
minutes and check out the Pacific Ocean?" Then I pointedly
changed the subject.
the subject did not stay changed. No. When we went to our friend
Ted's, he took us out back to view his jewel of a brick-rimmed
pond complete with glimmering goldfish.
met a new couple, and before our "How d'you dos" were
fully exchanged, they were confiding to us about the lovely
pond they had just dug. Around this time, I checked my chest
to see if the words "Tell Me About Your Pond" had
somehow appeared on my T-shirt.
my dismay, I heard our new friends exclaim, "Never put
in a small pond! Go for the biggest you can," while Dear
Husband flashed me meaningful looks. "What's that?"
he asked them. "I didn't quite hear it - would you mind
repeating your advice about the size of the pool?"
went to visit Craig's brother, who's getting ready to ... but
I'm sure you can guess. He's planning the largest pond possible.
the meantime, I'm treated to a splashy variety of pro-pond persuasions,
such as: "Mosquitoes attract birds," and "We
can plant cool water plants - like water lilies!" Finally,
although I'm careful to disguise my reaction, Craig comes up
with the ultimate in urging. "Terry," he says, "we'll
so it's common knowledge that I'm a total sucker for frogs and
anything to do with them: polliwogs, tadpoles, tree frogs, bullfrogs,
frogsong, and even just pondering the whole frog/prince theory.
A pond full of frogs was nearly irresistible.
I bit my tongue, practicing my best poker face. I would meditate
on the riveting-ribbeters notion, but without committing myself
by showing one flicker of enthusiasm
day, we were shopping in one of those cavernous build/fix/remodel-your-home
stores. Craig meandered off with his list. I ensconced myself
on a bench in their book section with a heap of decorating and
gardening books (so clever of these places to provide a sitting
center for bored spouses).
after a furtive glance over my shoulder, I began flipping through
a pond book. I viewed a variety of seemingly frogless ponds
- and then I saw something amazing. Someone had built a waterfall/slide
down his backyard hill into a pond deep enough for ecstatic
riders to splash into. And the hill looked like ours.
see that," a voice breathed into my ear.
smothered a scream. I slammed the book shut. "You're all
done shopping, sweetie? Great. Let's check out."
kept right on going. "We could do that! In the backyard!
Actually, two or three pools with connecting waterfalls! Think
of it - it would be so much fun!"
not!" I snapped. "One pond is plenty."
then, as my husband laughed in triumph, I realized he had me.
a small pond, Craig, no bigger than the sink ... OK, the bathtub.
I mean it.
Copyright 2002. The Christian Science Monitor
THE HOME FORUM in the March 27, 2002 edition of Christian Science