Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Fiction, sort of

Well, is it hot enough for all of you? I, for one, have had enough of the heat and humidity. So has my mother. This awful, oppresive heat has kept her from spending time at her favorite place in the whole world, her pond.

So, mom, this week's post is again for you. But I hope the rest of you will enjoy is as well, after all, we all need places like this in our lives.

Special post No.1: Pond Magic

Just below the pavilion where all the town celebrations take place, there is a pond. It is not special in any way. There are no eldritch beings lurking beneath and there are no sprites waiting to cross its lily covered surface. There isn’t even any sign that the willow growing on its muddy shore has ever gone stalking in the night.

No, this is a perfectly ordinary pond. And for that very reason it is the most magical place in all of Dren to the young and eternally bored children who live there.

The pond is quite large, as long as a felled oak and wide enough to allow all the children to wade in at once. The deepest part only comes up to the knees, an ideal depth; shallow enough to keep the mothers from worrying but deep enough to foster all the requisite life that makes up a proper pond.

All the life in the pond has become accustomed to the presence of the children; in fact they have come to depend on them as they keep the herons and cats at bay. The turtles don’t particularly like the children, but then turtles don’t like very much. And besides, the children only come in the afternoon when it is hot and all of their chores have been done.

The tiny minnows and ugly tadpoles dart around the children’s legs, tickling their skin to elicit a bout of splashing that annoys the larger fish and frogs, who count themselves as too mature to play. Eventually, though, even the oldest frogs join the children in their play. A favorite game for generations has been a race to see who could find the most treasure frogs. There are tiny copper frogs, agile bronze frogs, emerald jumpers, and the valuable gold king frog. This last frog is so elusive that, to date, he has only been caught once.

In the evening, after the children have been called home and scolded for their soggy and dirty clothes, the pond becomes still. Not many people visit it once the excitement of day wears away. Sometimes, however, when soft breezes ripple a bright moonlight sky, a pair of lovers may meet at the waters edge or beneath the feathery boughs of the willow. The susurrus of a summer night whispers around them.

If they are lucky, they might catch a glimpse of gold under the silvery surface. So rare are their appearances that it has become good luck for lovers to see the glittering scales of the goldfish with their long filmy fins that look like spun moonlight.

But they are not magical fish. The frogs are not really treasures. The pond is not in the least bit enchanted. That does not mean, however, that it is not enchanting. It is simply a place of refuge in a world that is strange and sometimes cruel. It is a place where children can be children, where clandestine lovers can meet, and where one can be at peace.


  1. I'm a big fan of the pond myself! And of the town of Dren- how awesome can a place be? :D

  2. You described it perfectly, right down to the bronze frogs.