Monday, 11 December 2006

The Land of Far Beyond

When looking for the creatures which live in the pond it is important to regain that insatiable inquisitiveness one had as a child, as it is a most charming and worthwhile trait. When pond dipping with your own children, you recapture that special frisson of excitement, in pleasures shared. In a sense, you step back in time to your own childhood, and when you see the wonder on their faces, you catch a glimpse of yourself as a child.

At first glance the water seems crystal clear, but closer inspection reveals a multitude of minuscule creatures in a state of constant flux, the microscopic algae. Horse leeches with their suckers for holding onto prey, tubiflex worms with their heads down tubes in the mud, water fleas darting about and newly-hatched tadpoles clinging to the waterweeds with their their sticky glands are all part of the magical underwater world you marvel at together.

Then there's the caddis fly larva in his amazing, cleverly-built case and the great silver beetle with his voracious appetite, gobbling up all and sundry. Best of all, perhaps, is that first sighting of a creature, which suddenly appears out of the forest of undergrowth, dragon-like in appearance, the pond newt, closely followed by his mate. At that point the audible gasps become whoops of utter delight, and you realise you have hooked your children for life.

1 comment:

Emmesse said...

My favourite was seeing a frog eat a wasp. The tongue came from nowhere and the wasp was gone!