mardi 9 mars 2010

Sunbathing, koi carp style

Staying warm on a cold March day


It's disconcerting, to say the very least (if you care about your fish) to see a koi carp keeping warm at the bottom of your fish pond. They look, in a word, poorly, if not outright possibly dead down there in the algae.

They are keeping warm, you know.

At least, that's what I tell myself. To be absolutely certain, I pick up an absolutely dead frond from the Japanese horsetail and poke near the fish. If it moves, I breathe.

It always moves. That's how I know to continue breathing anytime I see one in this posture.

Today, I saw the multicolored one on the bottom, and it was while photographing him (please forgive me if you are a female; maybe I will learn this about you this mating season) that I saw the gold one, shining in the sun on the other side of the rock against which they were both wedged, down in the algae, for warmth on its sun south-facing side. That's why I left the surface plants to rot over the winter and the algae to proliferate a bit; this provides shelter for the fish and the frogs wintering in the southernmost zone of the basin.

Still, it has been confusing for them, since a warmer day alternates with a cold and blowy one. Sometimes at this time of the year, I can be out cleaning up the garden and preparing it for the season in my shirtsleeves, but this year, that is out of the question. I'm still in sweaters and my winter coat, although I am not actually working in the garden, preoccupied as I must be with the house and the drawings for the woodwork in the petit salon, while the garden is left to its own devices. I think the man from whom I bought the piano is more than mildly tiffed by my not having taken delivery yet, since he hasn't replied to any of my emails, so I had better make it worthwhile, n'est-ce pas?

At least the sun is true to March standards, and despite a thin sheet of ice on the surface of the fish basin, the fish are comfortable down in their watery abode.

On the warm days, the whole band darts about, and they even eat.
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