Of Ponds, Otters & Planets

By Bernie Bell

Here’s a story ……..

A few years ago, we made a pond in our garden. We filled it with water, and planted it up.

I had a nicely rounded white quartz pebble, which I’d picked up on a beach, here on Orkney. So, as a kind of offering/dedication, Mike and I stood by the pond, and dropped the white quartz pebble, into the deepest bit.

Next day, I went down to the pond, and found the white quartz pebble, lying by the side, between the pond and a mound we made from the soil which came from the hole, for the pond. This puzzled me, greatly. I don’t discount fairy goings-on, but, when it’s right there in front of you, it’s a bit …….puzzling. Then, I remembered our neighbour, Fiona-Next-Door, told us that there are otters around here. We’ve found sections of Sea-urchin shell on the beach, neatly broken, and thought that they had probably been eaten by the otters.

We thought they lived down by the shore, and didn’t realize that they came up to the houses.  So, we decided that it was probably……….otters playing with the stone.
Imagine an otter, coming across our garden, finding the newly made pond, with something white glimmering at the bottom of the deep bit. He’ll have dived in, picked up the stone, brought it ashore to see what it was, found it wasn’t edible, and left it there.
So, Mike and I stood by the pond, and solemnly dropped the white quartz pebble back into the deep bit. And…….

A couple of days later, it was back on the side again! So, I placed it on the Howe, and left it there.

Bernie Bells pond

Pond in the early days

We love the pond – here’s what I wrote to someone when we first filled it.

“Did I tell you about our pond?
We’ve made a pond in the middle of our meadow. It’s an oval shape. The day that we filled it with water, Mike was just finishing off the edges, when the moon rose. So, we had an oval of still water, in the meadow, reflecting the moon. I called it ‘Moony Pond’. It also reflects the sun, and the sky, so, sometimes, we have an oval of sky, in the meadow. When the wind blows, it ripples, which is also pleasing. When it’s planted up, it’ll change, but, for now, we have an oval of water, doing things in the middle of the grass. It also balances the spiral, beautifully. I believe this to be the kind of thing, which would have delighted the ancient folk. The land, connecting with the sky, through the water. The water, pulling down the sky, into the land. The planets, shimmering in the water. We’re very pleased with it. In my world, this all means something!”

Bernie Bells pond mature

The ‘mature’ pond

And, we watched the eclipse of the sun, in the water in the pond so’s not to damage our eyes – now that’s something to see!

Bernie Bells pond eclipse

watching the reflection of the eclipse in the pond

Life is brim-full of wonders, and they do, truly, balance the ……..other stuff.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , , , , ,

7 replies »

    • If you’d like to call by and see the garden sometime, Helen, please do – when we’ve got rid of these colds – at the moment, our house is something of a Plague Pit!

  1. Thank you Helen! I sit on the little seat, and look into the water, or watch the wee beasties in the water. Just this weekend, some of the taddies hatched.
    It’s all very soothing. “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.” – W.B. Yeats.

Leave a Reply