Vacation is a time to catch up on sleep. But I’m not sleeping. There’s just too much great stuff to do.

At the beginning of the spring I bought myself a used mountain bike. I used to ride 30, 40, 50 miles on a weekend before marriage and children came along. Now that the kids are a bit older, I’m finally able to ride again, a little bit, anyway. The mountain bike isn’t as zippy as my old road bike was (or maybe I’m just 15 years older.) But it feels great to ride again. This week I’m getting up early and riding. First just through the neighborhood, but then across the road, past an old pioneer cemetery called Clover Cemetery, and then to my new favorite place.

It’s not a lake. Maybe if you stretch you could call it a pond. It’s a U-shaped trough of water, around 20 feet across and maybe 150 feet along each arm of the U. I don’t know if it has a name, or even who owns it. It must have been built recently, because it doesn’t show up on Google Earth.

The gravel road that runs behind the cemetery comes right up to one corner of the U. That’s where I stop, climb off my bike, walk through a short field of clover, and then just watch.

There are lots of frogs, squeaking and diving into the water as I approach. There are turtles, poking their noses up as they paddle just below the surface. There are tiny minnows swimming among the leaves that cover the water’s surface.

Yesterday, as I watched, a fish jumped in front of me three times. It wasn’t a beautiful fish, silver and sparkling in the sunshine. Instead it was yellowish, a bit dull. I suspect carp, but I’m not sure. I didn’t expect anything that big in such a small body of water. I wonder how many more there might be?

Today, as I rode up, a turtle basking itself on a branch slipped into the water. The frogs, as they always do, went skipping over the surface at my approach. Then, off to the left, I saw a muskrat carrying cattails from the inner shore to the outer one. The muskrat swam back and forth several times before finally diving under the surface. Maybe it finally noticed me standing there, but I’m not sure.

I think I’ll call the place Cloverfield Pond. Who knows? Maybe a giant creature will emerge from it and devour the city. Or maybe I’ll just see the muskrat or the fish again.

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