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Old 28-07-2011, 12:22 PM posted to rec.ponds.moderated
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Posts: 104
Default She Dances At Night

An old rec.ponds post, at least a decade ago:

She Dances At Night

It all started because of Sushi. She didn't have that name then, she
didn't have any name at all. Just a feeder comet 8 for a buck at the
local pet store. Bought her to feed to an albino Oscar named Ernie, who
did have a name and also quite an appetite. Nothing was special about
Sushi, except that Ernie didn't eat her like he did all the other
comets. Perhaps Ernie wanted some company, since he was all alone in
his tank, and suppressed his hunger to keep this not-so-special comet as
a pet. Bigger and bigger grew Sushi over the next few seasons, so big
that I worried that Ernie might change his mind about having her as a
pet and kill her instead as a fair-sized rival. So to her own tank went
Sushi, and a few other fish to keep her from being lonely as her former
master.

Sushi kept growing, and I moved her in turn to larger and larger tanks.
By now she was starting to become a little bit special to me, having
been with me so long, though I still had no urge to name a fish of such
humble heritage. Not quite a pet, but still something to be cared for
and watched for signs of hunger or distress.

Something about Sushi kept calling to me at times, even though I had no
idea what that call might be. Over the next few years, as Sushi
continued to flourish with only a few sad days when her former master
passed away, her calling to me grew stronger. She transformed into a
robust and elegantly finned beauty, nothing like I had ever had in one
of my tanks before. Too large, I thought. Too large to live in four
glass walls in spite of all my rearranging to accommodate her as well as
I could. And still she called to me, and still I felt her call but did
not understand.

A few months ago, while at a birthday party for my father at my
childhood house, I went next door to give best wishes to an old
neighbor. As we visited, he showed me some new exotic plants that he
was growing in his backyard ponds. Ponds. Ponds. Ponds. As we
approached the water, I saw lush hyacinths, lily pads, water iris and
parrot's feather. I knew the names of none of these, but how I marveled
at their vivid waxy green and delicate fronds. And then among the
lustrous green boats and lacy sails I saw the fish. They came and
crowded and begged to be fed with little "O"
mouths and jumped and writhed and wiggled and looked so alive and bright
and. . . . happy. Happy? Happy goldfish? How absurd! But there it
was in front of me in one bright orange and white and calico wriggling
ball of delight. I marveled out loud as my neighbor stooped with a
handful of food and dipped into the water and fed and fussed and petted.
"They love their pond," he said with a beaming smile. Their pond.
Their pond. Their pond.

I have always had a great deal of pride on my tanks, and how well I
attend to my scaly pets, but at that moment I felt a flush of shame. My
fish didn't act like his, didn't act the way his did at all. Could
they possibly be.

.. . . unhappy? Just as absurd, but again, right there in front of me.
I thought of Sushi at that moment and pictured her in my mind. A pond.
A pond. A pond. A pond? Now after patient years of calling out to
me, I heard her! Now I understood! Now I knew what to do!

The summer break from teaching school came a few weeks later, and then
it began. Digging by day and reading at night. Learning, digging,
learning, planning, learning, digging. Every shovel full was a little
closer to the answer for my silently calling Sushi. And call she did -
A Pond, A Pond, A Pond. I hear you now, little fish, and I'm working as
fast as I can. A few weeks later and 5 cubic yards of earth were
missing, and in their place was one thousand gallons of water and sweat
surrounded by 10,000 pounds of rock.

Not yet time for Sushi, though, for first the plants and then the 8 for
a buck cheapies to cycle and then to see if it all will work the way I
have learned it must. And still she calls - A Pond, A Pond, A Pond.

A few weeks later it all looks good. Now. Net her, into the bowl of
tank water, and then to float the bowl in the pond. And now, the moment
of truth.
In she goes! A look around, a little wiggle of the fins, a longer look
around, a longer wiggle of the fins, and then a trip around the edge to
explore her new and non-rectangular world. A few days later I noticed
that she was pushing the hyacinths around and coming to the top and
splashing with her fins like a porpoise. I asked the mailman if his did
that. See, he had started stopping by and eating his lunch in my front
yard when he had a little time on his route - he has a pond. He said
that his did that, too.

I asked him if that meant that the fish was happy. He said he thought
that's what it meant. Then, then I gave her a name. Sushi. Former
Oscar food promoted to Oscar pet and gradually gliding into my heart so
she could patiently, patiently call to me. She reached me. I did it.
Happy fish.

Tonight, though, tonight made me cry. Stupid, silly me, it's just a
fish I tell myself but seeing what I saw her do I just couldn't help but
weep from some strong emotion I just can't quite name. You see, today I
put some lights around the edge of her pond, partly so I could see the
fish at night, which I told my wife, and partly to keep me from
accidentally kicking some of the larger rocks in the dark, which I
didn't tell my wife. In the box with the path lights was a little
spotlight, so I stuck it in the rocks by the ripple going into her pond
and turned it so the light was on the water.

As night came on I washed and ate and took a nap and then went back out
to see the lights, and there she was. Staying right in the glow of that
little spotlight she swam, and circled, and looped, and wriggled. I
wondered that maybe she was hungry, so I tossed a few pellets on the
water. No, not interested, not hungry. She just kept swimming, and
circling, and looping, and wriggling, staying in the glow of that light
-- then she called to me.

Happy. Dancing. Happy. Dancing. Then I cried. In her pond, she
dances at night.


  #2   Report Post  
Old 02-08-2011, 10:02 PM posted to rec.ponds.moderated
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,503
Default She Dances At Night

JB, I remember this post very well. Was it originally one of yours? If so,
when was it originally posted and is Sushi still with us? ~ jan


On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:22:10 EDT, JB wrote:

An old rec.ponds post, at least a decade ago:

She Dances At Night

It all started because of Sushi. She didn't have that name then, she
didn't have any name at all. Just a feeder comet 8 for a buck at the
local pet store. Bought her to feed to an albino Oscar named Ernie, who
did have a name and also quite an appetite. Nothing was special about
Sushi, except that Ernie didn't eat her like he did all the other
comets. Perhaps Ernie wanted some company, since he was all alone in
his tank, and suppressed his hunger to keep this not-so-special comet as
a pet. Bigger and bigger grew Sushi over the next few seasons, so big
that I worried that Ernie might change his mind about having her as a
pet and kill her instead as a fair-sized rival. So to her own tank went
Sushi, and a few other fish to keep her from being lonely as her former
master.

Sushi kept growing, and I moved her in turn to larger and larger tanks.
By now she was starting to become a little bit special to me, having
been with me so long, though I still had no urge to name a fish of such
humble heritage. Not quite a pet, but still something to be cared for
and watched for signs of hunger or distress.

Something about Sushi kept calling to me at times, even though I had no
idea what that call might be. Over the next few years, as Sushi
continued to flourish with only a few sad days when her former master
passed away, her calling to me grew stronger. She transformed into a
robust and elegantly finned beauty, nothing like I had ever had in one
of my tanks before. Too large, I thought. Too large to live in four
glass walls in spite of all my rearranging to accommodate her as well as
I could. And still she called to me, and still I felt her call but did
not understand.

A few months ago, while at a birthday party for my father at my
childhood house, I went next door to give best wishes to an old
neighbor. As we visited, he showed me some new exotic plants that he
was growing in his backyard ponds. Ponds. Ponds. Ponds. As we
approached the water, I saw lush hyacinths, lily pads, water iris and
parrot's feather. I knew the names of none of these, but how I marveled
at their vivid waxy green and delicate fronds. And then among the
lustrous green boats and lacy sails I saw the fish. They came and
crowded and begged to be fed with little "O"
mouths and jumped and writhed and wiggled and looked so alive and bright
and. . . . happy. Happy? Happy goldfish? How absurd! But there it
was in front of me in one bright orange and white and calico wriggling
ball of delight. I marveled out loud as my neighbor stooped with a
handful of food and dipped into the water and fed and fussed and petted.
"They love their pond," he said with a beaming smile. Their pond.
Their pond. Their pond.

I have always had a great deal of pride on my tanks, and how well I
attend to my scaly pets, but at that moment I felt a flush of shame. My
fish didn't act like his, didn't act the way his did at all. Could
they possibly be.

. . . unhappy? Just as absurd, but again, right there in front of me.
I thought of Sushi at that moment and pictured her in my mind. A pond.
A pond. A pond. A pond? Now after patient years of calling out to
me, I heard her! Now I understood! Now I knew what to do!

The summer break from teaching school came a few weeks later, and then
it began. Digging by day and reading at night. Learning, digging,
learning, planning, learning, digging. Every shovel full was a little
closer to the answer for my silently calling Sushi. And call she did -
A Pond, A Pond, A Pond. I hear you now, little fish, and I'm working as
fast as I can. A few weeks later and 5 cubic yards of earth were
missing, and in their place was one thousand gallons of water and sweat
surrounded by 10,000 pounds of rock.

Not yet time for Sushi, though, for first the plants and then the 8 for
a buck cheapies to cycle and then to see if it all will work the way I
have learned it must. And still she calls - A Pond, A Pond, A Pond.

A few weeks later it all looks good. Now. Net her, into the bowl of
tank water, and then to float the bowl in the pond. And now, the moment
of truth.
In she goes! A look around, a little wiggle of the fins, a longer look
around, a longer wiggle of the fins, and then a trip around the edge to
explore her new and non-rectangular world. A few days later I noticed
that she was pushing the hyacinths around and coming to the top and
splashing with her fins like a porpoise. I asked the mailman if his did
that. See, he had started stopping by and eating his lunch in my front
yard when he had a little time on his route - he has a pond. He said
that his did that, too.

I asked him if that meant that the fish was happy. He said he thought
that's what it meant. Then, then I gave her a name. Sushi. Former
Oscar food promoted to Oscar pet and gradually gliding into my heart so
she could patiently, patiently call to me. She reached me. I did it.
Happy fish.

Tonight, though, tonight made me cry. Stupid, silly me, it's just a
fish I tell myself but seeing what I saw her do I just couldn't help but
weep from some strong emotion I just can't quite name. You see, today I
put some lights around the edge of her pond, partly so I could see the
fish at night, which I told my wife, and partly to keep me from
accidentally kicking some of the larger rocks in the dark, which I
didn't tell my wife. In the box with the path lights was a little
spotlight, so I stuck it in the rocks by the ripple going into her pond
and turned it so the light was on the water.

As night came on I washed and ate and took a nap and then went back out
to see the lights, and there she was. Staying right in the glow of that
little spotlight she swam, and circled, and looped, and wriggled. I
wondered that maybe she was hungry, so I tossed a few pellets on the
water. No, not interested, not hungry. She just kept swimming, and
circling, and looping, and wriggling, staying in the glow of that light
-- then she called to me.

Happy. Dancing. Happy. Dancing. Then I cried. In her pond, she
dances at night.

------------
Zone 7a, SE Washington State
Ponds: www.jjspond.us

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Old 11-08-2011, 02:09 PM posted to rec.ponds.moderated
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: May 2010
Posts: 104
Default She Dances At Night

Nope, wasn't one of mine. I looked for the author's information but it
wasn't saved. (My bad) I liked it so I saved it to a file along with
several other "gems" of information gleaned from this group.

I'd posted it to this newer group a year or so back and it got no
response. Thought I'd try again since it's such a great story.

On 8/2/2011 4:02 PM, ~ jan wrote:
JB, I remember this post very well. Was it originally one of yours? If so,
when was it originally posted and is Sushi still with us? ~ jan


On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:22:10 EDT, wrote:

An old rec.ponds post, at least a decade ago:

She Dances At Night



  #4   Report Post  
Old 12-08-2011, 01:02 AM posted to rec.ponds.moderated
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,503
Default She Dances At Night

On Thu, 11 Aug 2011 09:09:01 EDT, JB wrote:

Nope, wasn't one of mine. I looked for the author's information but it
wasn't saved. (My bad) I liked it so I saved it to a file along with
several other "gems" of information gleaned from this group.

I'd posted it to this newer group a year or so back and it got no
response. Thought I'd try again since it's such a great story.


We're obviously not the talkative bunch we use to be. ;-) ~ jan



On 8/2/2011 4:02 PM, ~ jan wrote:
JB, I remember this post very well. Was it originally one of yours? If so,
when was it originally posted and is Sushi still with us? ~ jan


On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:22:10 EDT, wrote:

An old rec.ponds post, at least a decade ago:

She Dances At Night


------------
Zone 7a, SE Washington State
Ponds: www.jjspond.us



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