It's Orange. And Fishy.

I procrastinated just a bit too long this year. I knew I needed plants for the pond, but I just didn't get to the one store in town that sells water plants until it was too late. They were sold out. I've got a lone water lily valiantly trying to keep balance in the pond's ecosystem all by it's lonesome. It's losing the battle. The algae is taking over by leaps and bounds, and no amount of effort on my part will keep it from turning the water so green that I can't see 2" down, much less my very orange fish. I mean, why have fish if you can't see them? Where's the fun of that?

So I have no choice but to empty my pond on occasion and start over. And pond owners everywhere are cringing, because it's not the way you're supposed to do things. In fact, it's not even healthy for the fish. But I have managed to find four of the hardiest fish known to mankind, so I'm set. What kind of fish are they? Goldfish. Just regular goldfish. Or maybe sub par goldfish, even. They were the 10 for $1 variety in the pet store that are normally sold as food for other things. Somehow, I managed to snag 4 that had a will to live like nothing I've ever seen before, which is good, because I'm a certified fish killer.

I cleaned my pond for the third time this summer. I pump out as much water as I can in order to see the fish, scoop them up, and safely place them in a bucket of pond water while I continue draining the pond. Catching those fish is a chore. I read of other pond owners who have their fish trained to practically eat out of their hands. Mine see me and hide. Quickly. They are very sure that I'm their worst enemy. And they were not happy with being in a 5 gallon bucket, either. The big one was trying to break a hole in the plastic by repeatedly ramming into the side. I said they had a will to live. I never claimed that they were smart.

After refilling the pond with clean water, it was time to put the fish back. I asked Micah if he wanted to see my fish. I didn't know he cared so much. The boy tossed Woody over his shoulder and came running. It's much easier catching fish in a 5 gallon bucket than a pond, so after a few seconds, I had the big guy in the palm of my hand. His tactic for living is pretending that he's dead. Once in my hand, he's as still as a salmon from the grocery store. Only smaller. I watched as Micah reached out to touch it. This fish fills my entire hand, from outstretched fingertips to the base of my palm. He's rather impressive, considering he was as big as my pinky finger when I got him last spring. And that might be an exaggeration.  And his color! Gosh, he's a beautiful deep orange that just fascinates a kid like Micah. Or me. I can understand Micah's desire to touch. The scales shine, the color is mesmerizing, and it's a fish. Those elusive things just aren't up for petting much, swimming in the deeps like they are prone to do. So his tiny pointer finger brushed the dead looking fish, lying in my hand.

Shockingly, that fish's Play Dead trick is better than any dog's I've seen. Still, it just laid there. I am wondering if it just passes out altogether from fear. Micah, however, wasn't so calm. The boy freaked. He pulled his hand back, stepped away, and started waving his arms frantically because OH MY WORD THAT THING IS STILL IN YOUR HAND. So I lowered the fish into the pond and watched it instantly come to life. And because fish are freaky, Micah simply couldn't watch as I caught and re-homed the other 3 fish from the 5 gallon bucket to the clean pond. He had to go find Woody, and take him to a happier place.

1 comment:

wendy said...

We also "rescue" fish from the feeder fish tank. Last year we didn't have much luck but this year 4 of the 5 I put in lived! and are getting big and are finally coming out of hiding when I walk by!