And then some sadness. We had a pond with ten fish in it. It'd been eleven, that bunny_hugger got from someone who couldn't take the aquarium pets with her. One died while we were on our anniversary trip, and we named it Star Jet and had the scheme for naming the rest of our fish. The loss hurt, but given the way the rest were clearly thriving now that they had a full pond and not a couple leaky tanks, we felt comforted that they were adapting well.
After our trip to the Traverse Bay area, we noticed one day that one of the fish was missing. This was Gatekeeper, and one particularly easy to notice because he had this stubby body and split tail and he couldn't swim as fast as any of the others, but he got close to it by sheer persistence and effort. He had personality, and was one of the first fish to catch on to what was happening when we fed them, and of course if a fish were to go missing it'd be the one who pretty much demanded to be noticeable.
Worse, we don't know exactly what happened: his body wasn't in the pond, and it wasn't anywhere near the area, but none of the remaining fish were traumatized --- hiding, skittish --- the way we'd expect from a predator getting one of their own. No answer seems to be without some unexplained ends. It made for a mournful time.
And yet then ... just the next week, while bunny_hugger was at school, I noticed something small and flickering in the water. And I watched more. Our fish had babies. This is way outside the proper season for goldfish to breed, but apparently they didn't know that. A half-dozen or so of the babies have already grown large enough to be distinguishable and seem likely to survive. And we like the romantic notion that some of them might be Gatekeeper's, although we obviously have no idea.
So the pond is now a wonderfully alive thing.
Trivia: About 3,800 Gloucester fishermen died from 1830 to 1900; Gloucester had a population of about fifteen thousand. Source: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, Simon Winchester.
Currently Reading: Technology in Postwar America: A History, Carroll Pursell.