Opinion

Nothing beats the sounds and rhythms of a Maine pond

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The pond on which I live looks like lots of small Maine ponds, but has its own seasonal sounds and rhythms.

Summer mornings are full of bird songs, a fat orange cat walks the beach. Gray and red squirrels and chipmunks move about. Blue jays, woodpeckers, and other birds peck at our suet feeders. Wood ducks and loons quack, cry, and holler with babies in tow. A Great Blue Heron flies in, walking the shoreline looking for breakfast.

Warm days, sunny or cloudy, the town beach has kids hooting, hollering, and splashing in the water. “Marco Polo” is a mantra with soaked kids trying to tag or elude one another. A big splash means some kid tossed high into the air by an adult just landed in the water. Young girls scream. Young boys holler and give commands. And always there’s the general, mixed chatter of beachgoers.

Kids laughing never gets old.

The summer pond hosts small motor boats, jet skis, pontoon boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, canoes, seaplanes, and a small sailboat or two. The pond is too small for sailing. Sailboats are always tacking, changing direction. Maybe the pond is better suited for sailing lessons?

We see two types of motor boats. Dark colored fishing motor boats mostly putter or drift on the water. Sometimes fishing boats hurry by enroute to a favorite fishing place where they drift quietly.

This small pond notwithstanding, some motor boaters love to speed. They race from one end of the pond to the other, turn around, and race back to where they started.

Some speed boats are owned by nearby kids’ summer camps. These white boats often speed by towing loads of screaming kids on giant rubber tubes, hanging on for dear life. Eventually the speed boat pilots make a quick turnaround, the tube crashes against the boat’s wake at the right speed/wrong angle, it flips, sending kids rolling and tumbling into the water.

Aluminum pontoon boats move slowly, often full of people hanging out, enjoying themselves on their waterborne outdoor decks. Sometimes they play pop music. Other times pontoon boats anchor in shallow spots where passengers spend hours in the sun and water.

The neon colored jet skiers most always run full throttle. They are cut from the same cloth as drivers who light up their tires on back roads and school parking lots just because they can.

I prefer to enjoy what the pond offers rather than trying to shut out the pond with loud music and high revving internal combustion motors.

Most of my summertime on the pond I’m on a SUP board and/or snorkeling. I enjoy finding old bottles from long gone Maine bottling companies. I’ve recovered old rusty padlocks, oarlocks, fishing lures, tin kids toys, pieces of ceramic. I swim over and around large rectangular slabs of granite or heavy boulders with rusted eye bolts and chains still embedded. How did they get there? For what purpose?

Each object has a history which I usually track down.

Snorkeling allows me to see pond wildlife up close. I’ve had loons surface almost within touching distance. Rock piles are loaded with bait fish, bass, perch, and trout. Some days sunlight makes schools of small fry sparkle like stars. I swim among them. Twice I’ve encountered large snapping turtles. We acknowledge each other and go our separate ways.

Swimmers and boaters hang on until final sunset. By nightfall the town beach is quiet, fire pits and campfires dot the pond shoreline. Small waves break gently over the shoreline.

My SUP board, paddle, fins and mask are cleaned, put away. Soon the sky is all stars, and summer sounds turn to loons, owls, bugs, and the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of, and falling back into, the water.

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections until 2015. He is now using his communications skills to serve clients in the private sector.

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