Little did we know when we moved twenty- five years ago to the end of a long dead and street that we were steps away from this gem of a pond. We soon discovered it was very special in lots of ways, and in all seasons. In summer it was a place to cool off, visit with neighbors, and in fall and winter, it was quiet and beautiful, and the visitors were wildlife. Middle Pond is one of three ponds, known collectively as The Indian Ponds, and as the name suggests, it is situated between the three.

Over the years, the pond was a locus for kayaking, swimming, and my kids and grandkids and dogs loved it. My open water swimmer daughter often swam across the pond and back. Every spring, neighbors organized an abandoned boat clean up, and every July Fourth, there was a boat parade.

Several years earlier the owner of the 20 plus acres abutting the pond wanted very much to sell the parcel to the town for conservation and public access, but negotiations failed, and a housing development bloomed. The remaining acre parcel was purchased by BLT [Barnstable Land Trust], with the financial support of neighbors, and since it abutted the pond, public access became a reality. The rebuilding of the dock was supported by neighbors, and it remains a gathering place.

A ponds protective organization I was proud to be a part of, actively worked to educate the local residents on caring for the three ponds by encouraging elimination of fertilizers, pesticides and regular maintenance of septic systems. But homeowners love their green lawns, even when lawn practices pose a significant threat to the ponds, and since ground water constantly moves, excess nutrients are added to bays and estuaries, further compromising their health. Over the years, in spite of the science- based approach to protecting the ponds, as well as the threat of an increasingly warming climate the ponds began to degrade. Sadly, this included Middle Pond, heretofore the least impacted of the three. A few years ago, we moved from our proximity to Middle Pond, but I’m saddened to learn of the worsening health of all our ponds.

I find this a sad commentary on our values locally, and extrapolated nationally and globally, the impact on the planet that sustains us. Nature is resilient, and I hope we recognize that soon. A quote I once heard, “Mother Nature always bats last, but she bats 1000,” sums it up forcefully.

Sheila Place

Got a Pond Story you want to share? Email Kristin Andres kandres@apcc.org

Pond Stories are a collection of writings from Cape Codders and visitors who love the 1000 local ponds that dot the Cape. We hope this collection of stories, that are as much endearing as they are environmentally aware, will awaken your inner environmentalist to think deeper about our human impacts to these unique bodies of water. Check out these valuable resources to learn more about the current challenges Cape Cod ponds are facing and how you can be a better pond steward in your town.