Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Still Waters

In my front yard I have a little pond. I dug it myself and framed it with rocks from my sister's ranch. Right now it is a mess. It is over grown, weedy and wild. The reeds are growing up in random directions and the lily pads are so thick you can't even see the bright orange fish in the dark, still water. The nasturtiums that usually creep sweetly around the pond and dip their toes in the cool water are now just plain creepy. My Japanese Maple tree, a gift from my husband on our tenth anniversary, looks like a hairy Muppet in desperate need of a trim. The braided foliage of last season's bulbs lay brown upon the ground, and the geraniums are covered with spent blooms.

My poor little pond is a mess.

It's time for the raccoon.

About twice a year, a local raccoon stumbles upon my pond. The first time it happened, he cleaned me out in two nights. I woke one morning to find a tidy pile of fins and scales stacked neatly in the middle of the walkway. Apparently, fins are too cartilaginous for his refined pallate. He had consumed two 6 inch comets, and returned the second night for the last one. In the process, he also knocked over the reeds, toppled the rocks and pulled up the lily's root ball.

The pond looked destroyed, but really it was a blessing. It had needed a good thinning and cleaning, and I had needed a good reason. It is not a simple job, and I spend an hour or two up to my knees in mucky water before the task is complete, but it is well worth the energy. The pond sparkles afterward, the plantings look elegant instead of ridiculous, and a zen-like peacefulness descends where chaos once ruled. In my continued efforts at mosquito abatement, I restocked the pond, this time with speedy little 10 cent goldfish. It would be some months before a raccoon would even notice them, but eventually they, too, became the midnight snack of my masked bandit.

And so we go, he and I. Sometimes he tears up my pond and never gets a fish. Sometimes he cleans me out in a night. Always he leaves a mess. Always when I am done cleaning it up, the pond is more beautiful than ever.

In this cycle of destruction and reconstruction, something happened. My pump broke. The water was no longer able to circulate.
Then came what can only come in still water. A lily. A creamy, beautiful, lemon-kissed bloom that opens in the morning light, closes tightly with the setting sun, and lingers for days. It is breathtaking.

I don't know what it is about me and the lessons I seem to learn from things like chickens and gardens and old trees. Maybe God has to talk to me this way because it is the only way he can get me to pay attention.

This is what my pond has taught me: Sometimes you need a raccoon to tear things up a bit to get you to do the deep work that you were always capable of doing. And sometimes beautiful things will appear when, quite by accident, your water becomes still.


Jackie said...

Beautiful. Words and Picture! I hate knowing that the racoon is going to have to come when I need to do some deep cleaning...Yikes!

Stephanie said...

That flower is so "perty".

rebekahmott said...

I think you are able to see the rainbow instead of the rain. Really it is amazing the good thoughts you have

jill said...

Wonderful post and pictures! I enjoyed reading it :)

Leah said...

Here from the roundup... What a beautiful thought and a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing!

areyoukiddingme said...

What a great story...

Heidi Joy said...

Laine I love you! So beautiful!...You and your post. I've had kind of a rough day and I'm sitting here crying. But your words calmed my heart and helped me to be still and realize the beauty that surrounds me.