Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)
TITLE: A Reeking, Servant Heart
By Carol Penhorwood
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For several weeks we had been experiencing unusually hot, humid weather with temperatures soaring into the high 90s, feeling as if we were entering steam baths each time we stepped out-of-doors.
“Pond turnover”, a term that I was unfamiliar with until reading an Ezine article by Braden Galbreath-O'Leary. According to O'Leary, pond turnover is a term used to describe the mixing of the stagnant, or 'stratified', waters in a pond. Stratification is an occurrence whereby the water separates into three distinct layers—like a layer cake—each with its own different temperature and dissolved oxygen levels. Pond turnover is when weather conditions favor the mixing of these layers. Organic matter like dead plants, fish, and leaves sink to and accumulate in the lowest level. Ultimately, toxic gas gets trapped at this lowest level, and is released all at once when the levels mix.
The released toxic gases poison the fish, causing a fish kill. Aerobic bacteria are given access to organic matter once locked at the bottom, quickly sucking all the oxygen out of the water and suffocating fish. The odor of the released gases fills the surrounding area with rancid odors. The lower level clouds the water, causing the pond to appear very dirty. Severe turnover can kill thousands of fish, and leave the property smelling like a month-old rotting egg.
Pond turnover. As the day wore on and the day's heat continued to rise, it became more and more obvious we would have to deal with this quickly or be run out of our suburban country neighborhood. Taking the afternoon off from work, my stout-hearted husband donned his straw hat for protection from the intensity of the sun and set off. Pushing off in our paddle boat, he diligently netted hundreds and hundreds of dead fish into garbage bags. The heat intense, the air pungent, his t-shirt soon soaked with his own sweat, he worked on for hours.
At frequent intervals he came in the house to re-hydrate and get out of the intense sun, reeking every step. With each trip my admiration grew. I didn't need this reminder that my husband just does what needs to be done—regardless. He has been my rock through all my health issues, steady, dependable, filling in the gaps when I could not function, always exhibiting a true servant heart.
“The secret of achievement is not to let what you're doing get to you before you get to it.” I guess it's true because my husband exemplified this anonymous quote that day.
I asked if he'd like to have fish for dinner that night. I think if he'd had a staff, I would have been turned into a serpent...another piece of history.
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