The other day, my friend Jude came by to pick me up for a movie date. As she strode up the driveway she announced that she had just had an argument with her husband. He told her we had an in-ground swimming pool here in our yard, and (although she had been here many times since we purchased the place back in January) she was quite certain that we did not.
"Sure we do", I said, and with a dramatic arm sweep toward the eastern edge of the yard and a laugh: "Welcome to the jungle."
It is there, although you would never know it looking in from the road, covered and hidden as it is by grape vines, bittersweet, wild roses and black raspberry cane. It is standard size for a backyard pool, a rectangular shape surrounded by a rusted chain link fence which has been padlocked for years. The liner has long since rotted away nearly completely; only thin shreds of turqouise vinyl hang from the sides in various places under the tattered remnants of a dark green cover. Since we have lived here, there has been a foot or two of stagnant, muddy water in what used to be "the deep end".
Upon first examining it on a walk through late last year, I was astonished to see that reeds and cattails had established themselves there. Several frog species have taken up residence, and now a flotilla of bright green algae floats on top as well. It is a real "cee-ment pond" that would have made "The Beverly Hillbillies" proud.
Right now it is a mysterious, secret garden, full of birds, chipmunks and amphibians. I almost felt like I was in Costa Rica on a rainy Sunday a week or so ago as I took some of these pictures.
When the frost comes back, all the vines and vegetation will die off and expose the ugly pit and the rusty fence again which event I am not really looking forward to. It was a bit depressing last winter to be greeted by it each and every time I walked out the back door, and no help for it in sight ( as it is the last priority for us; so much else needs to be done here). It is a daunting reminder of all the overwhelming work and expense lying in wait for us in the years to come. Still, I have no doubts...it will be so worth it.