Friday, October 15, 2010

Wade in the Water...

I know. I should probably write about why I've been scarce in the blogosphere, what I did on my summer vacation and other questions my remaining readership may have.

And I will. But first I want to talk about this other thing:


Water has been on my mind the past few weeks as we ponder how to best care for our backyard pond, an "inherited" feature of our property that we want to keep healthy for the living things that live in and around it.

This is a big spring-fed pond, almost as wide as our lawn and maybe 10 feet deep, not a little kidney-shaped plastic pool. We don't have aeration or other mechanical devices to keep the water oxygenated; we don't do chemicals; we're basically relying on Mother Nature to keep the pond's ecosystem going.

And it has for the most part. It is home to two slider turtles and a multitude of fish, planted comets from the pet store as well as an assortment of tiny wild fish that have just shown up (probably as a result of fish eggs migrating via wildfowl feet.)

But a population explosion of fish this summer has got us worried about winterizing the pond; making sure that we don't experience winterkill, a condition that happens when toxic gases from decomposing plants become trapped under ice and suffocate pond life. This happened to us a couple of years ago; we were horrifed, come spring thaw, to find dead frogs and fish bobbing in the water.

So I've been doing a lot of reading. I've been raking dead leaves and vegetative muck out of the water as I've been able. I've been moderating our fishes' snacks to lower the ammonia content of the water for winter. I've been asking around on gardening forums about creative, non-electricity-using ways to keep open spots in the pond during the winter.

Keeping water clean is hard work, even on our relatively small scale.

Millions of human beings around the world have no access to clean drinking water or safe sanitation. That's why I, like a lot of other bloggers today, are inviting you to think about the importance of clean water to the whole world (and, as our Native American friends would say, to all our relations on this planet), to learn more about this issue and to, if you're able, lend some support to programs that help make water and sanitation available. On the right side of my blog you'll see a widget for the United Nations' clean water initiative; it's likely that you'll also find information about clean-water initiatives on the websites of your church bodies' aid/development agencies and other faith-based organizations.

As many of us are reminded everytime we celebrate a baptism in our churches, water is a good gift of God. We should give thanks for ours...and we can help others to receive this gift.

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