Dave Wiley: First of all, Basil, tell us how long you’ve been a pond raft.
Basil Pondraft: I’m not sure, but it seems like I’ve spent six or seven summers on the pond.
DW: I suppose you prefer the summer months?
BP: Oh, for sure! That’s when I feel most alive.
DW: What happens in the summer?
BP: Well. . . so many things happen, it’s hard to know where to start. I have a picnic table on my deck, and people come aboard to have a meal, or to paint, or write, or just to enjoy the scenery all around me.
DW: What kind of scenery do you offer?
BP: There are trees all around, and at one end of the pond there is an island with two fig trees. There are cattails and irises and daffodils and other things growing along the banks. Oh, it’s very scenic, and on a warm, clear, still summer evening it’s idyllic. One is moved and comforted by the various changing shades of green, a mesmerizing symphony of peace and joy for all the people on my deck.
DW: You said that sometimes painters and writers come to work on your deck?
BP: Yes. At my picnic table. There are at least four or five painters and writers in the vicinity. I understand that several fine paintings have been done at my table. And there is a writer here who has interviewed the pond and some other inhabitants of the farm.
DW: That would be me
BP: Oh, of course! Well, I’m glad you got around to me. I was beginning to feel a bit left out.
DW: Sorry. You’ve been on my mind all along though. Anyway, I don’t necessarily interview in the order of importance. The farm is an organism. Each part contributes to the general well-being of the farm. Everything is, in a sense, equally important. I can’t, however, interview everyone, so I try to select those that I think best represent the spirit of the farm.
BP: And you think I’m one of those?
DW: Absolutely! You are an essential interviewee.
BP: Thank you. I have always hoped and believed that I played a vital role in the life of the farm. It’s just that sometimes I’m left alone for so long I begin to feel forgotten.
DW: You don’t blame people for not visiting you when it’s cold and rainy, do you?
BP: No, I understand. Being alone a lot is part of who I am.
DW: The pond keeps you company, doesn’t it?
BP: Sure. And it’s not just a great companion. Without the pond I’d be marooned on dry land, where my only visitors would be children intent on breaking up the things that hold me together.
DW: Yes, I guess life without the pond would be somewhat miserable. But tell me more about life in the summer.
BP: The sun warms my boards, flowers bloom, frogs raise their voices, fish come up and tickle my undersides, people of all ages pour into my deck, along with a few dogs of my acquaintance, and then the big people pole and paddle me all around the pond, even around the island. I get to shake hands with some of my friends on the opposite bank. When people are eating and laughing and singing, when the children are screaming and running around on my deck, and the dogs are jumping overboard, that is when I am truly happy, that is when I have my taste of ecstacy. It always ends all-too-soon. Fortunately, in the summer it happens frequently.
DW: I’ve heard about some of your legendary cruises. It must be an abundance of empathy that makes you feel that way.
BP: It’s more than that, really. The exuberant energy runs through me like a delicious electric current. I am rocking and rolling. I have new angles of vision and can see new sides of my old friends around the pond. I am in tune with all of Nature. I can forget myself and become the universe.
DW: That good, eh?!?! Wow!
BP: Everything is capable of feeling ecstasy, if it finds a moment to reflect on its being. If it is conscious of existing, though that consciousness be of a different sort, then it may experience a form of ecstasy.
DW: And you know this because of your experience as a raft on a farm pond?
BP: Yes. Yes.
DW: Well, you certainly have opened my eyes. Thanks for sharing your experience and your wisdom.
BP: It’s been a pleasure. Next time bring your paints and stay awhile.