Pond Turnover

We’ve been experiencing somewhat of a drought here lately, so when I woke up this morning to a downpour, I rejoiced. My own skin felt refreshed as I thought of the vegetable garden whose watering has been last on our busy summer to do list. I checked the basement. The concrete floor was wet, but it wouldn’t take long to dry out. I decided to check the status of the falls on this dam across the street. Beautiful, isn’t it? When I opened the door, the stench almost knocked me down.

I pulled the collar of my shirt over my nose. How to describe the odor? Sewage? Like the public bathrooms at the beach at the end of summer? While my husband, the scientist, wrinkled his nose and closed the living room window I had just opened, I asked him what he thought it smelled like. Mud, he said. Mud?, I asked. Yeah, he said, anaerobic activity. Decomposition. Indeed.

The pond has been stagnant for rainless weeks. (Perhaps sending precipitation for our little corner of the planet was last on God’s busy summer to do list.) This morning’s blessing of long-awaited rain really stirred things up. Because the water had been depleted of its oxygen, it gave off sulfur dioxide gas once the rain started disturbing the stratified layers of muck and such that it had developed in its stagnation. Hence the rotten egg smell. It’s unpleasant, but it’s part of the process.

Like parched earth, we may long for a blessing, but when it comes, it may cause discomfort as it changes things. Like closing a window, we may shut ourselves off from progress when new things begin to stir up a stagnant life. But beauty can spring from rot and decay, and opening that window–even if just a few inches at first–can also allow a pleasant breeze to pass through, and you may find that’s just what you needed.

About Amy Nicholson

A busy wife and mother pausing to ponder the beauty and complexity of life and share it with words.
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