Not that long ago, home was a small loft apartment overlooking a pond. While I spent just three years there, I will always treasure the experience. I'd always known that a fresh body of water had a personality all its own. But it wasn't until I lived near one, where I could observe it every single day, that I learned just how varied all its emotions could be.
It was autumn when I first arrived there, and I spent many hours looking outside the large window that had wisely been placed on the side of the building facing the pond. On nice days, I sat on my little deck, high above the ground and from where I had a perfectly expansive view of the ever-changing water. Some days, it was calm and still as a mirror, and others, as rough and choppy as the sea, its tiny wavelets capped with white foam as the wind whipped the surface into a frenzy.
During my first winter there, I watched as the pond froze over and less and less blue water was visible. Then, when the snow moved in, it was as if the area were just another vast field across which nothing moved save for the few souls who ventured out to poke holes in the ice through which to lure fish. On sunny windy days, the snow swept across in blue-white ripples. And at night, lights from the opposite shore illuminated the darkened expanse in large v-shaped swaths.
Spring saw the pond opening up again, shedding its winter layer in large sheets that slammed up against each other until the temperature rose just enough to erase them entirely. Summer was a lush green experience, with vegetation in the form of trees and low shrubs draping over all its shores as far as I could see. And the wildlife that flocked there was immeasurably wonderful to behold: great blue herons, mallard ducks, Canada geese, common loons, and kingfishers plied the waters daily, while bald eagles, ospreys, pileated woodpeckers, hawks and ravens flew over guarding their domain. Smaller birds flocked to my feeders daily, and one summer, a phoebe made her nest right under the deck, trusting me enough to rear her young close by.
Deer, foxes, raccoons and skunks were also frequent visitors. And once, I watched patiently as a turtle made its way laboriously toward the water, its short legs pushing it along over piles of dead leaves and protruding rocks. Squirrels made their homes in the surrounding trees, while chipmunks engineered their kingdom beneath the soil, popping up at random places and chattering to each other from hole to hole.
I took hundreds of photos there, penned many words, took many walks, and thought many thoughts. Those three years were an education like no other, and I graduated with the honor of having been there to see it all. Moonlight casting its haunting glow across a dark glassy surface, wake ripples left by boats, and sun stars sparkling on the water are all among the many memories I will cherish forever.
I've been fortunate to the point where I wanted to share my experiences with others. Many people never know the joy of living in such a place, and there was a time when it was only a dream of mine as well. But dreams have a way of coming true, as I've learned, and their stories are only improved in the re-telling.