“Row, row, row your boat…” you know the rest of the song.

Reflect with me – or imagine, if need be – that you are out in a rowboat on Lake Elizabeth. It’s late in the afternoon on a beautiful, sunny day. It’s comfortable and cool, with a light breeze from the southwest. No pandemic in sight. My childhood friend, Jane, and I row silently (circa 1950’s) into “turtle paradise,” the peaceful, overgrown cove just north of the Tradewinds Inn (pre-fire). We coast under a rustic, arched wooden footbridge. Long grasses scrape the underside of the aluminum boat as turtles scatter from the branches immediately in our path. The water is too shallow for the oars, but that is of no concern, as we don’t need to go any further. We are hidden and it’s quiet and sheltered in here. Many turtles curiously observe us, and small fish glide just below the surface; dragonflies hover; we sit still here in our boat among them.

On the way back to Jane’s dock we might pick a few pond lilies for the dining room table. There are too many lilies in the lake now; but that’s an issue for another time. It is a wonderful lake for rowing, no motorboats or sea currents. I learn how to row a boat here, from Jane. Evenings out on the lake in the rowboat are beneath a myriad magical stars and sometimes a radiant moon. Before boys were in our lives to complicate things.

Lights from the bordering houses and the Tradewinds – which also provides music from the restaurant – twinkle to create a surreal setting as mist from the fog rolls in. All free of charge, we drift along.

What does it mean, “Life is but a dream,” as the song goes? And what has happened to Lake Elizabeth since the ‘50s – as we have watched the phragmites and lilies grow and the flush slow – is it not such a good dream?

People have put pressure on our fragile environment and we need to help heal it. We love our ponds. We are making every effort to save our beautiful Red Lily Ponds. We want them to be here forever.

Alice Brown
Red Lily Pond Project Association, Inc. (secretary)

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.