26. Inescapably

I never set out to write as often as I am doing. I did not think I could post regularly and get everything else in my life done. What I have found, however, is that when I am alone for an hour or two and facing a pile of billing, I get a tickly feeling to express something, anything besides electronic billing codes or some tedious legal letter where spelling counts and you must make sense. The guy inside me (is it Forrest Gump?) who did not fully express himself in any forum has found traction and is sprinting up my intestines and into the cyber light at the end of my fingers– the keyboard. I suppose this is therapy for me, swishing my writer hands through the still waters of my memory, stirring up funky things that sank to the bottom decades ago or just last night.

Behind my house, we have a fish pond off our lower deck. This spring we paid “professionals” to upgrade it from the shoestring operation that I installed 18 years ago. For my liner I used two pieces of rubber roofing that I glued together. Over the years the water iris roots grew into the glue joint and, like Jim Morrison sang, “broke on through to the other side”. In short, the pond leaked a lot of water. I was drafted to fix or destroy the thing. I’m not much of a fixer, so I tore up the liner and agreed to hire younger guys to do the hard work. A few thousand dollars later now, we have a pool pump and filter system that runs a lovely water fall. My wife read on-line articles about European wading pools, and that is what we are going for– no fish, and only potted plants that are not actually in the chlorinated water. It’s semi-natural and landscaped. Last night we cleaned out the skimmer basket and the pre-pump filter. Not a lot of funk.

When I ran the pond, complete with fish and plants and an occasional turtle, birds (including mating ducks) flew in and washed themselves, toads chirped and shrilled all night, and a thick blanket of dead matter accumulated at the bottom of the pond each year. Every spring I’d take an entire Saturday scooping the foul smelling rotted matter out of the pond, while tearing apart water lillies that were enmeshed in the organic funk. I would reset the balance and get the water clarity near crystalline in a few days. I have no  idea how that worked. Rain would also work magic on the water clarity. It was beautiful in an amateur way.

This spring and last I had no funk to scoop, no balance to reset. This is good for my back, but I’m not sure if it’s good for my soul. There was something primordial about the process and the full immersion of my senses in it. The funky stuff, I imagined, was my unconscious and dripped off my legs and elbows. It held mysteries and secrets as surely as it held things the kids has thrown in the water– a Bert or Ernie toy, a marble, a seashell, a flip flop, or a prayer, a silent hurt, maybe a promise. Now the kids are gone and it’s anitseptic. There is no swamp gas bubbling up as the pond digests its diet these days.

So I guess it’s gonna have to be another venue that I swish my hands through. Maybe this is it, the new pond of funky stuff. Each post dredges up something that needs to move or be moved. “Run, Forrest, Run!” All the way up my intestines.

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