Gets even more violent after dark

Feldman "Sunset on the Pond'' (oil stick on braced panel), by NAN HESS FELDMAN, in the "Hydration'' show at Alpers Fine Art, Andover, Mass.

My parents for a few years lived on a pond they shared with a neighbor that was kept at slightly under 10 acres. More than 10 acres meant that they would have to give the public access to it under the colonial era "Great Pond'' rule.

They controlled the size of the pond via a little dam, which created a cute little waterfall. If they had chosen, they could have flooded  a road downstream by pulling up a wooden slat. They did think that would be fun to try but never got around to it.

While my parents seemed to like the pond, with its canoe, little swimming raft and large population of bass, I always found it smelled too much of decaying organic material and iron (they used to mine a little nearby in colonial days) and hosted far too many mosquitoes that in an earlier time might have given you malaria.

I missed the usually antiseptic smell of  the ocean at their previous place on a hill above the shore, where, unlike on the  pond,  hemmed in by tall trees and thick brush, there was almost always a breeze -- indeed, often a gale.

Some of the water in the pond flowed in a little stream from a cranberry bog. God knows what sort of pesticides were used there in pre-EPA days. But whatever they used wasn't enough to cut into the bass or snapping-turtle population as the brook flowed into the pond via a swamp that recalled the movie The African Queen, from which came  one of  the famous lines assigned to Humphrey Bogart: "One thing in the world I hate: leeches. Filthy little devils.''

Everything seemed so much cleaner in the winter, though the remoteness of the house and pond led one roofer to ask my mother if they had bought the land from Lewis and Clark.

Fairly soon after my father died suddenly  we sold the place, unfortunately during a real-estate slump.

--- Robert Whitcomb