It is good to have a favorite place where you can go to be alone and relax. Sometimes, this spot is your own room or a quiet part of the house. Sometimes, it is somewhere outdoors away from people and busy streets. Or you may feel most comfortable in a shopping mall or a downtown park.
Our favorite place is especially nice to go to at times of stress. When work gets too hectic, or we have trouble with other people, then our favorite place is a refuge from these difficulties.
My special spot is very close to where I work. It is on a busy university campus. At one end of the university, hidden among several buildings, there is a pond. This pond is surrounded by large rocks, which rise up like a small cliff on one side. Shooting out of these rocks are water pipes, which create a small waterfall. The water is drawn up from the bottom of the pond and drops back into the middle. This keeps the water from becoming stagnant.
On the other side of the pond, there is a grassy shore and a flat stone patio. Here, in the summer, people can sit out and have meals. Yet, very few people come here to sit; perhaps because they are very busy with their work.
There is something very calm and pleasant about trees and grass and shade, about birds singing and water rippling, and flowers blooming all around. Green is a relaxing color for the eyes. Still water suggests peace. Running water seems full of life.
There is a large weeping willow tree on the grassy side of the pond. Its branches touch the water and shade much of the pond. Rushes grow in the shallow water. The pond is only about three feet deep. In the summer, there are beautiful water lilies in bloom over much of the pond. Sometimes, I have counted over thirty blooms, and some flowers are over five inches wide.
Goldfish and minnows are the pond’s chief inhabitants. But there are also crawfish and other animals. At different times there have been a turtle, a water snake, and a family of ducks.
Behind the pond is a large glassy wall, which reflects the entire scene. One can also go inside and view the pond, even on rainy or snowy days.
There are several gardens close to the pond. One of the gardeners told me that he could turn the waterfall off and on. Usually on the weekends it is turned off, but if there is a special event the waterfall is left on.
Behind the glassy wall is a cafeteria. Here, visitors to the university are sometimes taken for meals. The students do not use it.
In the winter, the pond freezes over. Sometimes, if the winter is very cold the pond freezes right down to the bottom. Then, most of the goldfish and minnows die. Usually, some survive in the mud at the bottom of the pond. Occasionally, people will skate on the pond, if the ice is smooth.
When spring comes, a lot of the old rushes and water lily leaves from the previous year are cleared away. This makes the pond more attractive and gives the new plants room to grow. If there are too many rushes, they are sometimes cut down in summer. Then visitors can see the water lilies better.
Chances are that if you ever visit Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, you will hear about Pond Inlet. And, if you come in the summer, you will probably see me there, thinking about my next article.