Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Settling Pond

There is a magical place above my parents' home called THE SETTLING POND.  It is a little pond where the water "settles" after leaving the canal and before the water flows into the irrigation lines of my parents' and their neighbors water lines for their yards.  It was always a wonderful place for me as a kid.

In the spring, before the water was turned into the canal for the season, the settling pond had just a little water in it that was left over from the previous year.  In the summer, the water from the canal flowed into it by a culvert and the pond was full and seemed so dangerous.  In the fall, there was still a lot of water in it since irrigation goes into October.  In the winter, there is some water trapped in the pond since the water level is too shallow to flow back into the canal and too shallow to be in the irrigation pipes.  This magical little pond then freezes and becomes a nice little ice rink.  

The spring months, when the water was low, were spent collecting snails.  There were thousands and thousands of them.  I remember one time I cut off the top of a milk jug, filled it with water, dirt, rocks, sticks, and the snails I collected and kept it in my bedroom.  I was surprised one day when the water had all evaporated and my poor little snails were dried up as well.

In the winter when it was cold enough to freeze, I would put on my ice skates and practice jumping over the sticks that had frozen in the water and were sticking up in all directions, sure I would make it to the Winter Olympics.  Thank you mom, for never telling me that wasn't ever going to happen!

The kids were out of school the entire first week of April for Spring Break, so we headed south to my parents' home.  One afternoon we all walked up to the settling pond.  We got up there and Kelsey wanted a jar for snails and I forgot my camera.  I walked back down to the house to get them and when I came back, this is what I saw  - Emmitt nearly knee deep in the stinky, nasty, sticky, bottom-of-the-settling pond mud.

I asked Kelsey why in the world she let him go out there in the nastiness (it really does have its own unique odor) and she said she told him not to, but he insisted.  Oh brother!  So then I told her that she had to go after him, because he was honestly stuck.

Emmitt has watched a whole lot of Dora the Explorer and Diego the animal rescuer dvds, well, all of my kids have, and he thought that Kelsey could just hand him a stick and he would get pulled out of the mud.  Seriously, Diego helps a llama do the same thing and it worked so slick!  Well, I laughed, stood back, and took photos.

Kelsey finally took off her shoes, slogged out to the poor stuck little boy and it took all her strength to pull the lad out.  There were many disgusting sloshing and slurping noises along the way.  I am surprised his shoes made it out still on his feet!

Emmitt spent the next little while trying to find the Lighting McQueen on his shoes by scraping off the stinking mud with a dirt clod!  

Since Kelsey was already dirty and nasty, she was voted to be the one that ventured out into the muck to get a snail for everyone.  She was thinking it was funny and making nasty sucking noises with her feet in the mud and casually asked me what nasty things were in the water.  When I told her, the snail collecting was over!  She was out of it so quickly!  Ha ha ha ha.

The culvert that passes through the little hill that separates the canal from the pond was always a fun place for me.  I used to crawl through it, play in it, and it amazes me now what a fearless kid I was.  I remember playing in that culvert one spring day around St Patrick's Day.  I was crawling through it and found the most incredible marking in the layer of fine dirt on the bottom of the culvert.  It looked like a perfect little Leprechaun boot print.  I was convinced right then and there that there were little people living in the hills above my house.  I am still almost convinced, it was that magical to me.

Well, none of my kids would crawl into the culvert, let alone through it.  This is all I could get out of Kendal - a quick shot of her just sitting in it.  I told the kids that the next time we came up to the settling pond, they wouldn't be able to see the culvert, let alone play in it because it would be covered in water.  They still weren't buying it and refused to enter.

Kenna and I sat on the clay side of the pond and watched the proceedings with amazement and contentment.  It was a beautiful day.  Don't judge me harshly because the sweet thing is wearing pajamas in the middle of the afternoon.  She had been sick the entire week we were away from home, and it was easier to keep her in PJs, and much warmer as well.

Kenna loved feeling the little breeze on her face, watching her brother and sisters, and of course being held by mom.  She is a sweet baby and I wish she were feeling better during our stay at my parents' so they could have spent time with the normal happy Kenna rather than the sick, sleeping, and whiney Kenna.

This is the view from the top of the settling pond hill.  So many memories there as well.  My kids love to slide down it on their rear ends and get Lyman dirt on every surface of their bodies.  It is a fun hill because when they clean out the canal and pond with a dozer and backhoe, they make a wonderful hill of beautiful dirt that is cactus and sagebrush free.  My brother and the neighborhood boys used to get shovels and dig some amazing little huts into the side of the hill.  I remember one time they had to make a wooden ladder to get in and out of it because it was so deep.  Oh the good times we had growing up in Lyman.

Since Kelsey sacrificed her clean feet to rescue her sweet poor little brother, and there was no way she was getting her socks and shoes back onto those nasty feet, I got to pack her back down to the house.  I saved her from the cactus, pricklies, pokies, rocks, and all other plants that would injure her sweet little bare feet on the way back to the house.  I think we had tougher feet growing up - pretty sure of it.  Or maybe we just learned to never take of our shoes when there was a nice stretch of "wilderness" between ourselves and home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make that old settling pond sound like a magical place. I guess it could be, for a child. Glad you have good memories of it.



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