April 8, 2013
This has been one of those Mondays. To be fair, the last few days have been rough around here. The weekend was the two year anniversary of losing Streak, and on top of all the loss in SOF's family, it has just been a downer time. This morning, I learned that one of my employers will no longer employ me for online classes. I had kind of expected something like this, but the sheer stupidity of their decision angered me almost more than the loss of a section. That is the adjunct's lot, of course. We are the migrant worker of academia--taking only what the tenured class doesn't want to teach, and doing it for pennies. Yeah, it has been one of those Mondays. As you all know (probably) we have a fish pond in our backyard. Over the last year and a half, a blue heron has made our pond one of his stops, and we have significantly fewer fish than we used to. For a while, that seemed ok. The heron is huge and beautiful and just so amazing to see when he lands in our yard, and our fish have never been anything other than fish. We don't feed them and we don't name them. They are just there. But we have one exception--or partial exception to that rule. We bought a koi several years ago at Petsmart for a couple of bucks. They are colorful and pretty and we thought it would be nice. (Part of the reason we don't feed them, btw, is that I have seen huge koi in ponds with feeding and they come to the surface in a really creepy begging style. Ugh.) So our koi has made it through this last year and a half of heron visits. But on Saturday, I was kicking the ball with the dogs and saw something orange near the pond where there should be no orange. I went over there to find our koi gasping and twitching about two feet from the pond. I quickly grabbed him and put him back in the water, thinking that he was probably done for, but it was worth a shot. He moved down, then started to float. I was sure he was done. But as I neared, I realized he was just gasping for air. His gills were going crazy. After a few minutes of that, he swam off and is still doing ok. I am not sure why, but this incident has bothered me a lot. Obviously, I am glad I was there in time. I must have interrupted the heron. The koi could not have lasted much longer out of the water. I have heard of herons grabbing koi that are too big for them, but still either killing them or throwing them out of the water. But I found myself very sad. Perhaps it was the anniversary of Streak's loss. Perhaps it is all the loss in our family. Perhaps it is my own fear of losing those I love. Perhaps it was the sense of complete vulnerability that I saw in the koi. But I went from not caring if the koi was there or not to feeling a connection with him, and kind of pissed at the heron. Mondays happen. I will move on. And I will work to give the koi as many hiding places as I can to protect him from the heron. And I will try to make peace with the academic world. Eventually. In the meantime, I am going to get a beer and make some dinner.