Thursday, September 19, 2013

Water Birth

Poxabogue Pond lies about a mile as the crow flies from my home.  Fed only by underground springs and rainfall the water level is consistently erratic at best.  At certain times of the summer the lake shrinks in size by about half, exposing smooth mud flats and yellowing lily beds, but after a heavy season of rain its waters rise into the surrounding lands at a surprising rate.  I have seen levels rise eighteen inches over the course of twenty four hours, which is probably why its name (from the Algonquin language) means “The Pond that Widens.”

I have rambled on about this pond before, but late yesterday afternoon (as I stood sinking inches into the soft mud, fly rod in hand, pondering the low water level) I remembered a story about the place.  In the nineteenth century a farmer, seeing a heavily pregnant Indian woman on the road, offered her a lift on his cart.  On reaching nearby woods she thanked him and disappeared in the direction of Poxabogue Pond.  A few hours later others recall seeing her walking out of the woods carrying her new-born child.

We are told that out of all the local waters, Poxabogue was regarded by the Shinnecock tribe as having healing properties.  Her child would be considered blessed by being born in such a place.

Now perhaps we could be blessed with some rain…

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