Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

August 27, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing

Filed under: Enjoyment — Alexandra The Great @ 7:12 pm

I should hope this is not a universal problem of mankind, though I suspect it is, but I notice that very often things do not turn out as planned. 

Several years ago my husband and I decided that in our back yard we would build a fish pond.  Please understand that I use the word “we” very liberally.  My part in building the pond was to embrace the idea whole-heartedly and to bring my husband lemonade as he worked in the sun.  His part was to dig for many hours, mix cement, and generally do whatever actually qualified as work.  The result hoped for would be a beautiful pond full of fish and lilies with other water plants, complete with a fountain and a redwood deck encircling the pond.  Also envisioned were wooden benches and tiki-torches to provide a warm glow by which to enjoy our pond on warm summer evenings. 

All my husband’s work brought about our picturesque dream.  Eventually, after many hours of his labor, we had what we hoped for.  In the center of the pond was a fountain surrounded by water lilies with large leaves and colorful flowers.  A stream coming into the pond had its source in the patio by means of another fountain which provided the sound of running water.  As well as lilies, we also had parrot feather and a third plant with pleasant, small, round leaves.  A couple koi and a few other pond fish completed the picture.  The combination of all these elements had a pleasing effect and we spent much time around our pond.  Our dream had been realized.  But that was the first summer and time has a way of changing things.

We soon found that the algae, which grew all too quickly, had a habit of clogging up the filter in the fountain causing it to stop flowing.  We were constantly cleaning it out and were eventually worn down by the project and defeated.  It now seemed a better idea to have no fountain at all.  We still enjoyed the second fountain that fed water into the pond via the stream, but that soon was to suffer harm (probably another dog incident) and quit working.

After several summers passed, the plants grew to dominate the pond, hiding the fish from view.  Not only did they overrun the water, but they also made their way up through the boards of the redwood deck which served as a barrier between water and lawn.  This was quaint for a while but soon the pond plants in the boards were competing with the bermuda grass which had overcome and annihilated the fescue and then sought to also overpower the pond as well.  Soon the deck was being overcome by plant life from within and without and even by kids who somehow managed to remove a board, causing a toothless appearance.  All this abounding goodness was too much of a good thing and we had to fight it back to regain lost balance. 

It takes a lot of work to have dominion over a small thing like a pond, or a yard or even an aquarium; but every other thing that is worthwhile requires work as well.  Not only must we work, we must have moderation.  If we have too much of a good thing, the goodness gets lost. Without moderation we soon loose our enjoyment of things.  What is meant to give pleasure can easily loose its gleam.  If every morning were Christmas, children would eventually cease to rise early in eagerness of ripping open presents and would complain of being pulled out of bed as though getting up for school.

Perhaps it is a mercy that the vast majority of us are unable to indulge every whim, for indulge our whims we would.  Most of us have to work pretty hard to earn the pleasures we enjoy and they are all the more pleasurable because of it.  It is true that much of what we work for does not come about as we plan in the end, but there is satisfaction to be found in our imperfectly realized dreams.



  1. Hebrews 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

    The sad thing is that even though I am convinced of the truth and value of this and following statements in Hebrews 12, I still want what I want, and I hate to be disciplined.

    By the way, I am not so sure I want a fountain and fish pond in my back yard now!

    Comment by Mr Zzyzx — August 30, 2007 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  2. There is still pleasure to be enjoyed from an imperfect dream regardless of the maintenance required. However, if you can download a pond screensaver you will deliver yourself from many hours of trouble.

    Comment by alexandrathegreat — August 30, 2007 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  3. Actually, there are several pleasant ocean scenes in the “Extras” of “Finding Nemo” that I have left running for hours on my TV at times – it makes it look like a big aquarium. You’re right – all I had to do was shut it off when I was done. Thanks for the good advice – clearly, Alexandra is Great.

    Comment by Mr Zzyzx — August 31, 2007 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  4. Thank you for the kind word.

    I can appreciate your “Finding Nemo” aquarium. I too have a wonderful maintenance-free aquarium in the form of a screen-saver. It’s so wonderful, in fact, that it inspired me to buy a real aquarium. Perhaps one day I’ll write a post on the troubles of aquarium owners and the truama dead fish inflict on young girls.

    Enjoy your fish.

    Comment by alexandrathegreat — August 31, 2007 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

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