Rest in Pisces

Stupid blue herons ate us all up!While waiting for the dogs to finish their breakfast this morning, I went out and restarted the waterfall pump for the finally-thawed-out fish pond. It has been an oblong collie ice skating rink for weeks.

Having rested idle, and probably partially frozen, the pump gurgled and burped like a baby dragon teething a VW. But after a few moments, water began spilling over the waterfall. Along with it came a mountain of leaves. I grabbed the net-on-a-pole-thing to intercept the leaves before they clogged the skimmer. Cleaning out a fouled skimmer net is a rotten job. I reached out and slid the net under the first ranks of the leaf front, now approaching the skimmer with increased speed and a certain determination.

I lifted. “Tick!” Out came half a pole. The other half remained with the leaves. Traitor. Its aluminum shaft, possibly weakened by the bitter cold had snapped cleanly.

Where'd we all go?  Maybe the spaceship finally came to take us home.A small audience of herding animals had gathered to watch from the porch above me. First appeared the collie who only eats when it’s absolutely necessary, preferring toast and jam to kibble. Then came the sheepdog who will eat almost anything handed to her, but who will sit in front of her half-full supper dish like a petulant child glooming over cold green beans long after the family has left the table to watch A-Team. And last, licking her lips with relish, came the collie who always waits patiently for the opportunity to helpfully clean up after brother and sister; and sometimes not really waiting for after to arrive.

They watched me and I watched half a skimming net float across the pond. It was at this moment that I realized something, a difference that had only registered subconsciously. The water was dark. Flat. Lifeless.

Normally the pond is a hub of constant activity and animation, a gathering and scattering of orange and gold flashbulbs lighting it up. But there weren’t any now. All our fish were gone.

In a strictly Schrödinger’s Cat sort of way, they weren’t actually dead. Just gone. Missing. Absconded. Or more likely purloined, snatched by that damn blue heron pterodactyl-monster that’s been spotted cavorting around Snug Harbor in weeks past.

Unless they’re masters at underwater camouflage, safely hidden until one day when I’ll see one of them blink and emerge from a wall of muck with a knife in his teeth like Rambo, then the truth of what happened here is just too sad to contemplate.

I’m not restocking the sushi bar until I figure out how to protect its new residents. You hear that an event, horrific enough, gets imprinted on its surroundings. Well, the Fish family that jumps on this prime location at “way below market” without doing a little fact checking is going to be very surprised when rocks start stacking themselves and the minnows hear voices coming out of static between channels on the shellevision.

I’m contemplating a new, permanent scarecrow to protect the fish pond. No idea what will scare a blue heron. My only other idea is to build lots of underwater caves out of rocks so that the kids will at least have someplace to hide if Rodan shows up and isn’t intimidated by the
(F)ixed (I)nterdiction (S)ystem (H)ardware —
(H)eron (E)xpulsion (D)evice

11 Responses to “Rest in Pisces”

  1. Oh, so sorry to hear of the fish…. something similar happened in our pond. 4 months has passed for us, and we still cannot decide to re-fill or not.

    But then again, we don’t have a FISHHED in the works, either! ;)

  2. Ack! Sorry to hear about the fish. Maybe you’ll get a ransom note covered in cutout newspaper letters and feathers.

  3. Dude, a thought. Stakeout and big gun! Just don’t miss.

  4. No remarks about oblong collies?

  5. Ah yes. The Bloody Blue Heron Baron, I know him well.

    First, I’m jealous your pond has thawed I still have an ice rink.

    Second, as bad as Herr Heron is, raccoons are exponentially worse. They destroy everything in their path to the fish.

    Third, bird netting works but can be unsightly. I’m told Heron’s are very territorial and a lifelike statue in the pond will deter Herr Bombardier. I’ve also heard the water scarecrows will work to scare them off (as well as furry bandits). Of course if you forget it’s there you will get a bath. I have seen adds for “Koi castles” which are clear plastic tunnels. I’d love to watch Herr Heron go YEAH BABY LUNCH and then witness a giant BONK!

    Most of my koi are far too large for Herr Heron and as much as I dislike being a sushi bar, Shubunkins and Comets put rabbits to shame in the ‘replenishment rate’ category. I don’t have ‘oblong collies’ but I do have ‘pear shaped’ cats though they aren’t much good. The ducks laugh at them, especially DeathWishDaffy who likes to walk right up to them and yap. If it’s bigger than they are and doesn’t act like prey the cats aren’t sure what to do.

  6. I forgot to mention beer and BBQ after the big hunt.

  7. Beaten to the punch on the super-special breed of dog: the Oblong Collie. Drat!

    Overhangs are your best bet for the pond. I actually have pond envy, as I have a large, very stupid, black dog that will make both racoons and herons look like pikers in the “creative ways to destroy the pond and cause all fish to die of heart failure” department.


  8. You don’t happen to know if your pond is built over an old burial ground of some kind, do you? That’s the sort of thing to avoid.

  9. Hawk Girl,
    Yip. I think that this spring when the pond guy comes to power wash everything, I’ll just tell him not to fill it back up since there won’t be any fish to take care of (sniff). Then I can build some fish castles out of rocks. I wonder if there are any particular types of rocks that would be better for the job than others.

  10. Monster, you have a point. For all we know they were swept into the ethereal dimension, and right now are having tremendous fun playing with the volume controls on your tv whenever a commercial comes on.

  11. I just read this post and although it is sad about the fish, the dog stories are hilarious. Can’t wait to see the giant fish head scare crow with Heron eating teeth guarding the haunted pond. It reminds me of a Far Side cartoon of a dog looking up at a dog house on a hill at night. The caption read “That’s the old Muffy place. They say sometimes at night you can hear his chain rattling to the water dish and back.” Of course if aliens took then all is for naught. Pam