This ain’t Walden
May 19, 2013
One day, not so long ago, my wife announced that our back yard needed a "water feature". Today I know that "we need a water feature" is just another way for a woman to say, "No, I think it would look better over there." Her vision was an open-toed Martha Stewart pond in the backyard, while my vision was a 1963 Porsche GS Carrera convertible in the front yard.
I'm spoiling the ending but it winds up where she hates the pond and I don't get the Porsche.
I met her vision head-on with spirited enthusiasm, "Guy in Granby had a family of copper moccasins move into his pond. I'm just sayin,' you know, 'bout you being nervous around deadly poisonous snakes, and all."
This worked well for a few days before she timidly broached the topic again, "You're stalling."
My next move, some would label bold and inspired, while others would say pathetic and desperate, as I asked her, "Have you ever stepped on a pond slug?" "Slug," it turned out, was a poor choice of words, being both a noun and a verb.
So I dug an alarming hole in the backyard and packed it with local rocks for authenticity. I packed rocks high, I packed rocks low. Then I filled it with water, also local. Eventually, I achieved a certain look that my wife referred to as "Abandoned Quarry!"
Neighbors gasped when they saw it, showering me with equivocal remarks like, "Wow . . . uh, you must've really worked hard putting all those rocks together, uh, you know, in one place. With water in the middle. Well, gee, look at the time! Thanks for another unforgettable moment."
I admitted that Martha Felon Stewart's people could have done it better but it got me off the hook for a few years. Things were fine until my wife disturbed the soothing burble of our babbling brook to whisper sweetly, "Your stupid swamp sucks!"
Whoever built Stonehenge hauled 50 ton boulders over 100 miles of rough terrain, so I never should have expected local stones would suit Martha F. Stewart. A prophet in their own country thing. In the heart of the Rockies, the local rocks were clearly lacking the joie de vivre of expression and the subtle, elegant ambiance of Martha's prison cell.
So I went to the Pebble Boutique, hundreds of miles away, to purchase designer rocks to hide the offending native rocks. Seems like rocks are only dirt cheap when they're underfoot. The imports are priced such that you have to impersonate Tom Shane to buy them.
I packed designer rocks left, I packed designer rocks right and when I was done, darned if the new pond didn't look like the old pond made out of rocks. The neighbors came flocking back, gushing with compliments like, "I thought it would be bigger."
One stepped up to the edge, looked down past his toes and said, "This is it?"
Perhaps they expected a lap pool or an afternoon of water skiing? Maybe they're buying a boat and looking to dock it in Fraser. After they left, my feelings were hurt and I wiped away a tear. I noticed my wife looking at me tenderly, "What?" I asked.
"I was hoping you were my new water feature."