I regard this blog as something that gives my readers a window on my world, and this week it’s not a happy, cheery window. We’re home. At least we’re at our house, sleeping in our own bed and drinking our own coffee, but we’re still living out of suitcases. And since this is part four of the Downfall trail tales, that means we’ve been on the road for nearly a month now. Book tours sound a lot more fun when you only contemplating them. Doing them? That’s another story.
Just last week I wrote a cheery piece about coming home and going down to the fish ponds where our fish were clearly thriving. That was prior to last Saturday. We came home from that day’s events only to discover that the circulating pump was off and the fish in that pond were either already dead or dying. We immediately instituted a catch and release animal rescue operation, snagging still living fish in a net and running them around to the front pond and then dragging out the sad remains of everyone else. One big gray fish, one we called the Gray Ghost, could still swim well enough that he got away, and we couldn’t find him. Sadly we did find him the next day, as a dead floater in the water.
Let’s be clear. These are fish. Goldfish. Some of them—the big seven-inch gold and red and orange guys—came from our initial batch of ten-cent fish from PetsMart. That was six years ago. By the following year, the price had gone up to fifteen cents. They had been with us for a very long time, in fish years. (Are fish years longer or shorter than dog years?) The ones we were able to catch and cart to the front pond swam away, some of them very feebly, but since I’ve seen no additional victims, I have to assume that they mostly made it.
Yesterday the pond guy came and explained what happened. A rock had gotten stuck in the intake pipe which had burned out the circulating pump, spilling oil into our pond. Motor oil and fish do not blend. If you don’t believe me, Google the Exxon Valdez. The back pond is currently inoperative. Before we can restock it, we’ll need to drain it and scrub it. That’s something that will have to happen much later. In the meantime, I’m worried about having something go wrong with the pump in the front pond!
In terms of relative importance, the loss of a few fish probably doesn’t count for much, but those little creatures were entrusted to us by God and PetsMart, and I can’t help but feel that we let them down.
So you’ll have to color my blog blue this week.