Just a Pond

By: pbcmedia

Dec 04 2008

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Creativity, Life, Personal, Photography


Focal Length:27mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I travel by this pond every day, multiple times a day.  It is just an ordinary looking pond most of the time.  It is surrounded by a new athletic field often filled with high school teams practicing or town leagues playing soccer, lacrosse, football games.  In the summer, there is a town run beach with lifeguard and swim rafts.

But, it is also the pond where a husband drowned his two small children and then went home and murdered his wife and shot himself.

I never pass this ordinary pond without their memory.  This morning is the first time I took a photo that suggests the innocence and evil that are contained in these waters.  It is not my best photo but it is my first of many that I have taken of this pond, at all times of day, that begins to bear witness to the ghosts who live in this pond.

It is only in winter that these trees are bare and one can see through them to the pond.  If memory serves me, It is also the same time year, and time of day,  a long long time ago, that a deranged man drove down to the boat landing through these stand of trees.

This morning, I go to celebrate my grand niece’s 6th birthday.  I shall meet her at her kindergarten bus stop carrying a purple balloon, her favorite color.

I shall carry this image as well as I give her a Pappy squishy hug and hopefully don’t let go of the balloon.

©Pat Coakley 2008


10 comments on “Just a Pond”

  1. Hmm, this is thought provoking. The framing isn’t my favorite (compared to your other BTW {behind-the-wheel} shots) but I still really like the “two window” look.

    What I really like, however, is the soft watercolor consistency. Combined with the story behind the location, it’s very effective.

    Also, this reminds me of the movie Snow Angels; tough ending that involves a similar looking pond.

  2. My first thought when I saw your shot was that it reminded me of Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture. The image looked to me as thought I was looking through the supporting beam of a Niemeyer building (somethihng like the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida) at an Arthur Boyd tapestry.

    The story of the family tragedy took me back to when I used to live in a ground floor apartment in Vancover.

    One day an very old lady collapsed in the street just outside of my window. The paramedics weren’t able the revive her and she died on the street with her false teeth lying on the ground next to her; with a large group of gawkers standing around her .

    The next day there was no evidence that somebody had passed away on the footpath right there near my place. As a leaf blew by the very spot, I thought how there was no plaque to commemorate that old ladie’s passing. The world didn’t stop turning and the rest of life just went on like the inexorable juggernaut that it is.

  3. Well, I could not have received two more thoughtful responses to this entry. I am so appreciative of them both.

    Brooks, I agree about the framing and then, just as I say it, I disagree. Here’s why. I have tried to photograph this pond on many occasions. Always outside the car. I finally realized that if I was going to begin to tackle the complexity of what this pond means to me, I had to photograph it from the car, as this was how the father took his children that fateful day and drowned them.

    I took two shots from the car. One was framed with the wheel in the foreground and the boat landing and pond visible beyond it. And, then, I took this one this morning. This framing to me is very similiar to how this father and these children saw this pond through their sedan minutes before took the turn to the boat landing.

    The one with the wheel frame, similar to some other BTW shots, was just too much for me. Too melodramatic, I felt. Plus, it gave me the absolute creeps to deliberately frame it in this way.

    Anyway, that’s why I chose this one.

    I know this sounds terribly morose, but it is why it is framed this way. Also, I wanted two windows as I do believe the theme of innocence and evil marks any tragedy such as this.

    I have no seen that movie you mentioned but I shall keep an eye out for it. Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Razz, as I am an architect nut, I rushed to google to check on this architect. My, My. There is a book titled “Irreverent Curves”. I simply couldn’t find more apt words to describe the framing of this photograph. As always, your stories deepen the original that is here. But, that last line is absolute gold in its truth. Thank you.

  4. “ordinary pond”?

    Hmm… it’s anything but ordinary. Holding such memories in its murky water, how can it be?

    Hope you did not let go of the purple balloon – good color choice!!

    • Nava, as it turned out, i had to keep the balloons in the car because of the wind! But, she got in the car and was thrilled! So, squishy hug delivered and balloons intact.

  5. Pat, as I mentioned about the moon shot, this picture once again has the dream-world quality. It made me think of dreams and the places that you visit in dreams, some of them real and some of them not. Then an eerie quality from the photo hit me and it brought horror film or thriller photography to mind, so when I started reading your post and learned of the tragedy that took place at this pond, I wasn’t really surprised. It’s also poignant to read that you chose to photograph the pond from the car because that would have been one of the last sights those poor children had before their deaths. Now that’s what I call sensitive. It’s a beautiful, wintry image. It makes me think of the chill outside those windows, whilst hot air blasts from the car’s air con; a two dimensional photo with extra dimensions added, including a knot in my stomach for those two children. So sad.

    • Epic, I am happy to hear you got the suggestion of evil before reading the post. Sounds like a funny thing to be happy about doesn’t it?

  6. evil, evil, evil… and the man still lives with this evilness in his heart…wonder what he thinks about every night before he falls asleep… love the photo

  7. I love a lot that you blog and those comments on it make me me reach out, stretch my brain, rattle my mind a bit and get me to think about Niemeyer and Snow Angels. It is very scary and dreamy, your shot. I thought of “Stand by me” and a Steven King story I tried to read and had to stop, because I started to have nightmares in the middle of the day. It was not very scary though. My thoughts made it scary. It was a story with a lake and young people swimming to a small wooden swimmers rest in the middle of the lake in the middle of the night.
    It was my first and last Steven King attempt lasting more than 5 pages.

  8. Hj, Is he still alive???

    Sanne, I agree…my readers make my blog entries far more nuanced. My threshold for scary movies and books is very low and has been all my life. Stephen King is actually a wonderful writer so I am sorry to have missed so many of his books.

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