…an over-extended metaphor that amused me whilst up to my knees in the pond.
So there I am, navy shorts turning black with damp and fish nibbling round my toes in the soup of algae I’ve stirred up. I’ve tried rebuilding the collapsed pebbly edge of our Japanese pond from dry land and it has consistently resulted in tears and/or swearing. Lean on it a bit and it all collapses. No togetherness.
Thus I tear off my velcro, park my sandals and lower my cautious tootsie into the murk. Nice. Actually, it’s warmish, nowhere near as slimy as I feared and at least I amuse the fish. Sparrows chitter on the fence ( probably laughing like those winged and toothy monsters in Roobarb and Custard). The sun sneakily fries the gap between my shorts and teeshirt, and glimmers on a stone full of mica. So pretty, so eyecatching and so flaky. Celebrity silica. It starts my thoughts off on a ramble.
We have five sorts of stone around the pond. There is a fine rockery of large, rough slabs around the cascade, laid by my husband. Tough, a bit coarse and enduring – the sort that will withstand a lot. These take a fair old bit of organising but make an excellent group.
Then there is a motley collection of sizable waterworn boulders; artistic, smooth, individual but don’t work well too close to each other. They have to be spread out, considered by themselves as unique.
Next come the pebbles – hundreds of thousands of ’em. Wave upon wave that blend in the eye as one sea of shingle but if looked at closely, each has its own character. They’re the ones that tumble into the pond with the slightest provocation and cause me to fume.
Smallest in size is the gravel. It doesn’t even seem to match the others if left in patches. Little bits, seemingly insignificant – but so useful for the gaps, the awkward spaces. Self-effacing, easy to manipulate and ignore. Yet brings a lovely cohesion when spread about and integrated into the whole design.
Ah but that’s only four.
This last group really interested me when dealing with the edge. The big rocks are too hard to manoeuvre, the boulders too peculiar. The well-rounded pebbles and the tiny shingle collapse. It’s the awkward squad that do the job. The broken, the knobbly, the frankly ugly ones, that underpin the most difficult part of the construction. Rejects are strong and have their place in the scheme of things.