Goldfish and Nostalgia #sol22
June 28, 2022
Way back in my old life in the midwest, I lived in a suburban colonial with a patio blistered by the midwestern prairie sun and on that patio, I had a pond. This pond was constructed by the then popular half whiskey barrel with a plastic pool insert. The local nursery had a wonderful display of exotic pond plants and beautify koa fish and I longed for this in my summer oasis.
So a pump was purchased and ‘fancy’ goldfish with their split tails were carefully selected at the pet store. Every morning I stepped out of the kitchen door, discussed my reading, the weather, and other important world news with the half dozen goldfish in the pond, fed them some flakes, and proceeded on with my day.
The fish ‘wintered-over’ in a fish bowl in my cozy intervention room. They listened to kids read and giggle while generally being totally zen. Life was nearly perfect.
Then we moved. The last remaining goldfish, Groucho, traveled out to the east coast in a Coleman cooler and lived in my kitchen as a reminder of my life in the midwest for the next year.
When we moved to our house, the whiskey barrel and the abandon pond tucked under the screen porch. Once a year, we would discuss what we might do with it. Make a planter? Get rid of it? Alas, it remained there for twelve years. No pond. No goldfish. Just empty.
Last month, a facebook or instagram ad lured me to a solar fountain for my bird feeder. I bought the little solar disc but the the bird bath was too small to support the fountain’s pump. The pump kept emptying the birth bath of its water and then there was nothing to pump. Into the garage went the pump.
Last week, my husband said, “Let’s set up the pond.” We scouted around for some flat earth. Unlike our midwestern lot, our homestead is filled with rolls and boulders. Finally we settled on a partially sunny spot near the back garden. He propped the pond up on one side and filled it with the house. I smiled. Encouraged by that, when we went to get a dog life vest later that day he said, ” How about some goldfish?” “Ok”, I said reluctantly.
All the what ifs went through my mind, raccoons, a fisher cat, not enough pump, but still we picked out seven little goldfish and took them home. I tried not to notice the pretty markings on this one or the spots on that one as they sloshed around in the plastic bag. I don’t want to get attached in case they don’t make it, I thought.
I dispatched the goldfish to the pond. The water was clear. The sun was shining and those little goldfish gleamed in the summer sun. No beautiful pond plants today.
Half way through the day, he came in to report that three of the fish had sloshed over the sides as the pond sunk in the garden soil and were no more. I went out to peek at the remaining four. I thought some encouraging words in their general direction and went in the house. The fountain cheerful squirted into the air.
The next morning I hesitantly peek into the pond. Four goldfish, still present. I thought, good for you and fed them a few flakes.
The next day, it rained all day. The goldfish hid under the fountain, not squirting from lack of sunlight.
The next day, still four fish, huddled under the fountain in the slightly murky water. We can do this, I thought.
And so it goes, day to day with the goldfish. We hope for the best.