I spent all morning in the garden. We have another dodgy looking fish. After losing Round Fish recently, I am keeping a close eye on the pond and spent a fair amount of the morning dangling over its rails, trying to get a good look at Fat Fish. It is, at this point, just what it says… a very fat fish. It looks perfectly healthy, is swimming fast and fine, and eating well. Given the behaviour of some of the others, diving around with it and knocking its sides, there is every possibility Fat Fish is simply spawning… but I would like to be sure.
The infirmary tank was set up again a couple of days ago to be on the safe side. You can’t get close enough from the ‘bank’ of the pond, as the deck sits high above it and fenced rails run around it both as an anti-heron precaution and to allow Nick to get around his garden on his own two feet. So I dangled precariously, net in hand.
Now, this net is a biggish one… designed for catching pond fish. It is also ludicrously small in comparison with Simon, the bubble blowing ghost koi, and let’s not even mention the three feet long sturgeon that haunt the edges of the pond… I would have no chance netting them. Even so, as I lowered the net into the water so as not to spook Fat Fish, every one of the forty or so fish, from the smallest baby grass carp to the sturgeon, decided to investigate. I could have caught the lot.
Simon, as tame as you please, reversed onto the net and parked himself there, looking up at me expectantly. He had, after all, only been fed three times this morning and was obviously in the final stages of starvation, judging by the pathetic bubbles he was blowing. Quite how a fish manages to be so expressive, I have no idea. Nor how Simon has me so firmly hooked.
He meets my eyes, you see, and once he has my attention, follows my movements around the pond, turning the watching body to match mine… as long as I am heading for the fish food. When he requires feeding on a one to one basis, he blows bubbles until I comply. As the days go by, I get closer and closer to being able to hand feed him and there is a definite connection. On the other hand, half a Simon parked in the net wasn’t a lot of good.
I managed to tempt him away and tried again. Every fish wandered in and out of the net, except Fat Fish, who lurked several feet down in the water. If I walked away from the pond, I could see him/her up on the surface… return to my place and Fat Fish was gone. Always just out of reach.
I wandered around the garden for a while, watching the birds and butterflies, succumbing to the temptation to stroke a big bumblebee raiding the globe thistles. It didn’t mind… barely seemed to notice… so intent was it upon its task. My son, of course, thinks I’m nuts. He probably has a point. So, of course, does the bee… but many things that are well worth doing have a risk involved and bees don’t sting unless panicked… like, say, when a whole bush-full of them get trapped beneath a floaty skirt as you waft down the garden steps… I’m not sure I have ever stripped so fast in public before…
Stroking a bee is a lovely thing. It would, of course, have been my own fault if it hadn’t been happy about it. I knew that… but if you want something badly enough, you may have to accept a risk and be prepared to pay a price. It isn’t always exacted, but the willingness, I believe, matters. The bee turns its back on the world, putting itself at risk of being stroked, or worse, to delve into the golden heart of a flower… the idiot running her finger over golden fur may also be at risk. As it turned out, the bee stole the treasure from the flower I had planted and I stroked its fur… we were both happy.
Fat Fish, however, wasn’t taking any chances, but remained stubbornly just beyond reach, like so many of the things we seek to catch. Perhaps he…or she… was right to do so. Perhaps the pond is the best place, not the net… maybe I, in my desire to help, have got it wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time, nor will it be the last. It is entirely possible that I cannot catch Fat Fish because I am not supposed to… some things are like that. So for now, Fat Fish has won… after five fruitless hours, I gave up.