Friday, November 24, 2023

Black Friday at Black Tooth Pond

I needed to perform maintenance on a geocache out on the Dick & Willie Trail near uptown, so I headed out fairly and hiked out to it. Once I'd replaced the old, damaged container, on a whim, I decided to drive over to my old high school and see if I could get back to Black Tooth Pond, where I'd misspent countless hours back in my checkered past (you can read about an early adventure or two here,)

I gave Black Tooth Pond its name because, when I first discovered it, several hundred yards down a little dirt road behind the high school, a large number of old tree trunks protruded from the water at the pond's farthest end. (In more recent years, my dear, late friend Pete Wells, an expert in local history, informed me its actual name is Lester Pond; the Lesters have been a prominent family in this area for many, many years.) In 11th grade, circa 1976, my biology class hoofed it down the old road to the pond and took samples to test for water quality. Later, I furthered my education here with a select number of female specimens of the species. Not long afterward, I returned to the area to conduct experiments with certain chemical substances, the results of which are in mostly hazy.

I knew from looking at Google Maps that, some time ago, most of the woods around the pond had been razed, which pisses me off royally. (Around these parts, wooded areas no longer stay wooded very long. I'm assuming the motherfuckers want the trees solely for the wood, since, inevitably, only hideous scrub grows back in place of the once-healthy forests.) Thankfully, the pond remains back there amid all those now-desolate acres, though with only a thin ring of living trees surrounding it. Almost all the old trunks that once jutted from the far end of the pond have finally succumbed to the elements. Only a couple of very small, stubby trunks still protrude from the water.

Still, I very much enjoyed walking back there and taking a few photos. My latest short story, titled "The House at Black Tooth Pond," which is based both on this location and an ancient, abandoned house my brother and I discovered out in the county a good thirty years ago, will be appearing next year in a new anthology, titled Shunned Houses, edited by S.T. Joshi and Katherine Kerestman. Of course, I will post updates on the book as it gets nearer to release time.

Black Friday indeed.
View of Black Tooth Pond from 2010. As you can see, in those days, far more unspoiled forest surrounded it. More of the old tree trunks in the water are visible here, although even then, they were far fewer and smaller than when I first laid eyes on the location in the mid-1970s.
Another current view
A very old bench overlooking the water
A view of the current terrain, which up until recently was lush, beautiful forestland.

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