What swims under the ice of an ephemeral pond, watching the slow shadows from below? Nothing that can’t live half the year without water, suspended, provisional, like a word from a language that nobody speaks anymore. But some find ephemerality desirable, if it means the absence of predatory newts & fish. One rainy night in March the mole salamanders arrive by the hundreds, the males entering the water merely to sow their spermatophores across the bottom: so much moisture at once is not a thing they’ve learned to resist, living under the ground. The females then take what they need — choosing on who knows what basis — to make their masses of gelatinous eggs, like the compound eyes of an enormous insect.
But not here, not at this mountaintop pool, where the acidic soil provides no buffer against the nitric & sulphuric acids that arrive with every rain or snowfall. This pond has almost as little in it as a geode, sliced open so we can feast our eyes on the unrepeatable, inorganic growths.