Posted in Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Pond, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Wonder

The pond that isn’t a pond

Sunrise this morning at the edge of...
Sunrise this morning at the edge of the…


Pond is one of the most flexible words for describing a small body of freshwater.  Uplift, landslides, volcanoes, and glaciers can create ponds, as can human beings and animals.  Beavers are great ponders, and so are farmers and ranchers who dig them for irrigation and livestock.  Glacial kettle-hole ponds such as Thoreau’s Walden and Cape Cod’s freshwater ponds are important features of the New England landscape.  George Stewart tells us in “Names on the Land” that “native people’s of the Northeast called ponds paugs and that this has resulted in felicitous redundancies such as Mashapaug Pond in Massachusetts.  At least since 1641, the English have referred jocularly to the Atlantic Ocean as the “great pond.”  And there is no end to the compound forms of the word:  sagpond, millpond, fishpond, duckpond, pond life, pond lily, and pond yard to name a few.  Regardless of size, location, or purpose, any pond can become the radiant and beguiling point of a landscape, even a muddy or algae-covered farm pond that’s nothing more than an isolated earthen water tank.  Thoreau thought of Walden and nearby North Ponds as “Lakes of Light” in “which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

~ Michael Collier, Home Ground:  Language for an American Landscape, Edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney

Watching the sun come up
Watching the sun come up by the…

We had another beautiful, foggy, autumnal kind of sunrise this morning.  I am just beginning to learn about sunrises here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  I’ve been a slug-a-bed since moving in, and it’s only this past week that I’ve begun rising before the sun on a regular basis.

Autumn's colors are beginning to show.
Autumn’s colors are beginning to show.

We have recently discovered that our pond is not a pond.  M and I have noted that the level of water in the pond has been inconsistent, but we didn’t connect the dots right away, mostly because we had other concerns and didn’t pay a lot of attention to the pond that is not a pond.  At first we thought the rise and fall of the water in the pond was due to the rainfall and lack of rainfall.  We have not had steady rain during the time we’ve been here. We get the occasional deluge for a few minutes or an hour or two, and then it will not rain again for a week to ten days or longer.  Had we been paying attention, we might have noticed that the water levels rise and fall throughout the day, not over a period of days or weeks.

The sun will rise up over the treeline soon.
The sun will soon rise up over the treeline and burn off the fog.


A shallow body of water located adjacent to a larger body such as a river, lake, or ocean, yet partly separated from it by a thin strip of land, is known as a lagoon.  The separating barrier may be a sand bank, reef, barrier island, or spit… River lagoons in the American heartland commonly shelter natural wonders, as described by Willa Cather in O Pioneers!:  “The Bergson wagon… skirted the margin of wide lagoons, where the golden coreopsis grew up out of the clear water and the wild ducks rose with a whirr of wings.”  And lagoons have long offered coveted shelter for human settlements…

~ Mike Tidwell, Home Ground:  Language for an American Landscape, Edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney

Back Creek.  A rather large body of water around here.
Back Creek. A rather large body of water around here that connects with the large Manokin River that connects with the even larger Chesapeake Bay that connects with the really large Atlantic Ocean.

M and I finally realized one day that the pond rises and falls with the tides, just as Back Creek does.  Having done some clearing and mowing, M worked his way around the back of the pond and found a ditch that connects the pond, or lagoon, with the creek.  I have not been back that way yet because M said I’ll need him for a guide to find the way, and he hasn’t had time to escort me to the path.  Soon, I hope.  I’ve been told it is a beautiful area with little to no sign of human activity.  (What?  No Coors Light cans??  Or plastic??  It’s a miracle!)

A Great Blue Heron hides in the fog.
A Great Blue Heron hides in the fog.

A lagoon sounds so much more exotic than a pond, don’t you think?  In the book Home Ground that I’ve been quoting in this post, Mike Tidwell wrote in the section on lagoons:

Tourism brochures have strongly linked the term [lagoon] to faraway tropical places, like Coconut Lagoon In Kerala, India, or any of the classic half-moon reef lagoons of the Pacific atolls.  This may owe to the fact that “marooned” and lagoon rhyme so nicely in the poetry of getaway fantasies.

Sea myrtle shrub at the edge of the lagoon.
Sea myrtle shrubs at the edge of the lagoon.

We may not have swaying palm trees at the edge of our lagoon, but it appears we do have a lagoon.

Sky reflection on the water of the lagoon.
Sky reflection on the water of the lagoon.

And sometimes, when the sky is blue and you approach it at the right time of day, we have a blue lagoon.

Peering through the grasses at the lagoon.
Peering through the grasses at the lagoon.

That’s it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today.  Thank you so much for dropping in, and exploring with me.  Someday soon we’ll go out to the path that runs behind the lagoon to have a look at the magic of it.

Morning's web
Morning’s web

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂


Robin is...

26 thoughts on “The pond that isn’t a pond

  1. Oh, how wonderful! “Lagoon” is perfect! Here, it would still be a ‘pond’, despite its connection to the tide.
    Funny how the Names of Things vary regionally…We lived in Florida for a year, where every rain puddle-sized body of water was called a ‘Lake’. Here in New England, we have ‘ponds’ that are so big you can’t see the other shore. 🙂


    1. I know what you mean, Marie! It’s like that here with the creeks and rivers. Some of the creeks here are as big (or bigger) than some of the rivers I was familiar with in Ohio. I think I’ll be doing a lot of learning over the next ten years when it comes to what things are called. 🙂


  2. Ah, Robin, I was wondering if it would be a tidal pool of some kind. Having lived in the Tidewater area of Virginia for a while, I was familiar with the ebb and flow of fresh water there. I love the idea that you are living on a lagoon – yes, it does sound exotic! Beautiful images as always 🙂


  3. Love the post – so interesting to learn about ponds and lagoons and Robin who doesn’t get up before the sun [!] Congrats on the photo “A Great Blue Heron hides in the fog” – it looks like a painting.


  4. So cool to have your own lagoon. Sounds exotic. I liked the part that you included in the opening about the Native American word for pond. The word must be used similarly for other bodies of water or morph slightly perhaps among different tribes. I will never forget learning way back in jr. high social studies class about Lake Webster in Massachusetts famously known as “Chaugagaugmanchaugagaugchabunnagungamaug” – translated it means “you fish on your side of the lake, I fish on my side of the lake, no one fishes in the middle”. My sister and I pride ourselves on being able to pronounce that mouthful and never having forgotten it, lol!


    1. Holy cow! That IS a mouthful! I love that it expresses so much. I guess you would need a big word to cover all of that. I would take pride in being able to pronounce that word (and probably would never forget it if I could!).
      Thank you, Karma. 🙂


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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