Saturday, October 21


Small Craft on Pond, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

My sister, Marybeth, gave me a wonderful book for my recent birthday -- a book I intend to read cover-to-cover the way I read the Webster's Dictionary I received 30+ years ago as a highschool graduation gift. The book is Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney. Thank you, Marybeth! Here's the first of (hopefully) many photo/word pairings inspired by this book.

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 peoples 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 from Home Ground
This is my sister, Marybeth
So, thanks again, Marybeth.
Look what you started!

This photo of the small leaf-boat is also part of a series of leaf photos I made for our weekend Utata tagging project, Utata Leaf. You can see everyone's thumbnails in this Utata Leaf project here.