These past couple of weeks have been somewhat trying in this household with a whole variety of things going wrong or needing attention. Funny how things seem to come in bunches. You can go a long time without anything significant happening and then all of a sudden, three or four different things occur.
In my case, the first thing to go wrong was the failure of one of the pumps causing the breakers to blow which resulted in the death of nine of the very large and very old Koi in the 6000 gallon pond. This was due to the water overheating and losing oxygen on one of our 100 degree days. As if this wasn’t enough, I have been having problems with the water quality in the Goldfish pond resulting in the loss of a half dozen goldfish. I immediately did a half water change in that pond which took the best part of the day in the hope that it will fix the problem.
While I was out there working on the pond, I witnessed the big brown snake catch one of the goldfish and was attempting to swallow it before I intervened chasing the snake away. I haven’t seen that snake in a long time and thought he had left the area but apparently not. He dropped the goldfish but I later found it dead. I could not see any marks on it so it must have died of fright which I would have too if I had been half swallowed by a large snake. Such is the way of Nature with each of us food for another species somewhere in the pecking order. In the case of humans, the pecking order is either one of us who may be bigger, stronger and carry a bigger gun or very occasionally the odd animal that gets lucky. Whereas animals generally only kill out of necessity to eat or defend, there is very little logic to why humans kill one another.
After losing so many fish in two of the ponds in the last couple of weeks and with the view of looking to the very near future when I want to sell this house, discussions with my Realtor who is also a fish and pond person, have convinced me that I probably need to shut down two of the ponds and leave only the 5000 gallon one off the deck inhabited with fish and in good working order. This is a huge step and one that I am very reluctant to do but the likelihood of finding a buyer who would want to take on three large ponds is probably pretty remote. I look at the beauty in the ponds and the fish themselves and all of the TLC that went into both the construction and the upkeep and feel incredibly sad. These are big moments in my life and are hard to come to terms with. Sooner or later, I need to do this and even if my dream of living out the rest of my life travelling the country in an RV doesn’t pan out, I still need to go ahead and close down those ponds. If I stay here, it won’t be long before physically, I won’t be able to maintain them. If nothing else, I need to get the fish transferred so that all that remains are the turtles who do not require any looking after or special attention. As long as the pumps continue to work, the ponds will remain clean and beautiful to look at without the fish. At least the water lilies will be able to flourish without the Koi tearing them to pieces. Again though, it all depends on what my Realtor advises.
When we are young or in my case younger, we never give much thought to growing old and why would we. In most cases, we are fit and healthy and all we can see are a lot of years of living ahead of us. That’s if we even think about it. Things we do at that time like building fish ponds, are not considered for when we grow old. We think we will live forever and be the wonderful and physically fit people of our youth. Nature has different ideas and old age is creeping up on us even in our mid fifties. Things, once easy to do, become harder. The body works a little slower as does the brain. Worse, the thing that drives us begins to have other thoughts. Sometimes, we really have to push ourselves to do something not because it is difficult or hard on the body but because the brain is telling us that we really don’t need to do whatever it is. So we progress to where both physically and mentally, we no longer want or are able to do the simple things that we took for granted earlier in our lives. I have not yet reached that stage but I can feel it slowly coming on and I sometimes find myself pushing hard to get my brain and body to cooperate. It’s so easy to say to oneself that we can do whatever the task is, another day instead of now.
I hate growing old and intend to fight kicking and screaming all the way until I draw that final breath or at least until my brain says, enough. When I reach that stage, it will be time to go to sleep forever and someone else can worry about maintaining the ponds.