Ponds, Man

Even “In The Beginning” there was water.
Water and humanity have shared a special relationship from the earliest memories of time, and this relationship will continue till death do we part. Man has sought to capture, control, manipulate, exploit, and even amuse himself with water since even the most primitive civilization first came into existence.
To capture water allowed man to grow food surplus, create populations centers, and venture far from home.
To control water brought power. The Romans learned this early, and engineered vast and far reaching aqueducts to send water to areas of empire expansion.
To exploit water; trade routes, mining/milling practices, and dam building brought previously unknown wealth and riches to early cultures.
This wealth, power, and surplus allowed man to be amused by water and as early as 4000BC-3000BC many cities were adorned with flowing fountains, even smaller towns had deep plentiful water wells for the inhabitants.
Amusement with water soon led to the practice of gardens with water features. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Moors, Chinese, Aztecs and other great and not so great cultures found themselves creating water gardens and ponds. Often times these water features were utilitarian as well as ornamental, and could provide a place to raise food fish and edible aquatic plants. Ponds were often created seaside with circulation and drainage and took great skill and planning to create; and knowledgeable persons to successfully manage these ponds which even had areas to allow smaller fish to return to the sea to grow larger while keeping bigger fish in to bring to market.
Ponds were kept for the health benefits of a cool area to escape to during the heat of the day and to dip into for relaxation, hydration, and clean up. Ponds were also kept as opulent displays of wealth.
Cultures such as the Moors and Persians kept highly ornamental ponds, fountains and water features that were highly engineered to interconnect with ribbons of water linking one water feature to the other. Fountains dated from 3000BC had colorful artistic glazed tiles adorning the interior and exterior while the fountains had exciting and beautiful displays that would be awesome even by today’s standards.
Ponds always provided a degree of comfort and safety by having on-hand water available in the case of fire or emergency, to give life sustaining water to livestock, and to assure available water for crops during those terrible dry times.
In modern times we now keep ponds for all the same reasons as our pondy predecessors, but in first world culture we use them to adorn our landscapes, to beautify our backyards, keep our pet fish, and have a flowing waterfall off of our patios and decks. Ponds are not so much considered a display of wealth these days as just about anyone with the room, can afford to have a pond. They are not used much for emergency services as hydrants pop up on most street corners.
Water is where we go on vacation. Water is a part of our rituals and spiritual life. The simple premise remains that man and water still to this day have a close and meaningful connection; with ponds playing a major role in that personal relationship. Water will soon be a reason that we go to war and who knows how long it will be before we, again, rely on the backyard pond for so much more than our amusement.
History repeats itself in the strangest of ways!

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