the pond outside my window

Welcome to the BIG BRAVE BLOG HULLABALOO, a celebration of gutsy women from all over the world, connecting and claiming our power!  It’s not too late to join our circle…  if you’d like to share your story on my blog over the course of the summer, please read what this is all about HERE, and connect with me!  We have so much to learn from one another!  

As we get in the swing of a new week and a new month, I’d like to introduce you to someone who has inspired me in her down-to-earth yet subtle ways ever since I met her at a retreat several years ago.  She is an AMAZING artist, embracing the power of the sacred feminine in her work in whimsical and colorful ways…  and offers us a downloadable print of her work (just below) to go with her unique and in-depth glimpse of the pond just outside her window….  help yourself, and please leave her a love note of thanks in the comments below!  

Without further adieu, please give a shout out to the FABULOUS Tammy Vitale!!


Outside of my work window is a pond.  It has 4 goldfish and 1 blackfish I can hardly ever find.  It used to have as many as 17 goldfish but we somehow acquired baby snapping turtles that grew into larger snapping turtles who feasted on the fish.  So far, over the past 4 years, we have managed to find and relocate 4 of those turtles.  But the fish dwindled.  The pond also has frogs – this year many, many frogs.  And once when we first moved in (18 years ago) there was a toad sing on a full moon night all around the pond that has never happened again.  On the top of the pond, skimmers live, and around the pond (and using it for a birthplace) we have beautiful dragonflies.

This pond is a metaphor for my life.

I can stay inside and look at the pond through a window – a wall between me and the pond.  I miss the skimmers, the frogs, the fish mostly, but I absolutely miss the turtles.  I do see the dragonflies soaring around and above the pond and out further.

The only way I get to see the pond’s true life is by engaging with it, standing next to it, putting my face down to it, giving it water when it is drying up (it has no source of its own and the denizens of the pond depend on water).  I also clean it out after the leaves fall but before the frogs hibernate – I leave the deep end mucky because that is what protects life.  In the spring, when the oak leaves finish up falling, I have to leave it alone or I will mess up all the egg sacs floating among the sprouts of water plants.

I see this in my own life as knowing the difference between watching and participating in my life, as the encounters with different kinds of people I meet along the way, and as an encouragement if I’m not soaring with the dragonflies…..perhaps this moment I am meant to be a fish – or even a snapping turtle (some might agree with that!).

But more often than not, my pond always poses questions to me:  what pond am I swimming in?  Am I choosing to be a fish (water) when in fact I could be a frog or a turtle (water and land), or even a dragonfly (water nymph, land to rest, air to move about).  What am I choosing?  Am I choosing?  Or am I watching?  Is it fall and whatever I am I need to be snug in the muck?  Is it winter when everything is frozen and one wonders how any life at all can come from this?  Is it spring where I am new life depending on circumstances outside my absolute control to create a fruitful space?  Do I trust that care will come?  Is it summer with its bright abundance (and when the very source of all that life, water, is dependent on something the pond denizens cannot even imagine)?

The thing about the pond is that I believe that the fish do not think beyond the small pond they swim in – they will never imagine an ocean.

The frogs travel when it is raining, I do not know how they know where they are going.  I think perhaps they do not, but they are called and they follow.  I do not know if they get there.

The turtles are happy as can be:  plenty of food, no predators…until they are upended and transported to the river where everything they have known is gone and they must learn new rules.

The dragonflies?  Brief lives where it seems as if they are at the top of the possibilities – being able to fly and all.  But you are seeing only a brief shining moment at the end of their life.  They have spent up to four years as nymphs and will live as adults for only a few months during which time they create the nymphs which will slowly mature and live their brief time in the sun too.

Of course, we are humans, and we have the ability to at least think about things, and to look for help to see beyond what we can imagine (friends, school, society, pictures on Pinterest – best pond enlarger I’ve ever found!  ;]) So here are a few questions to help you think beyond your pond – they do not have right or wrong or even definitive answers.  They are merely markers to help you explore possibilities.  Enjoy the trip!

What pond are you swimming in? What is it that keeps you in this pond? What tools might you use to identify and see beyond your pond?

Have you traveled beyond it ever? How do you know? What did you see?

Were you afraid?  Did you go anyways?  Did you come back or did you keep going?

Tammy Vitale is a practicing professional Artist as well as a Coach for creative Micro-Entrepreneurs teaching others how to color outside the lines (or see beyond the pond they’re swimming in, as the case may be).  Website:; Facebook: TammyTVitale;
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  1. jzr says:

    Lovely post. Great metaphors that are the essence of life.

  2. Tammy Vitale says:

    Lisa – thanks so much for the opportunity to blog for your wonderful site! Much appreciated!

  3. Lisa says:

    Oh Tammy… thank YOU! Your presence on my blog today is a blessing! Your words have brought up a whole slew of memories for me about the pond I grew up next to…. how I used to splash in adorning giant flippers and armed with buckets in order to catch tadpoles and spring peepers…. how strangely enough, I loved the feel and the smell of the algae…. how the cattails poked out along the sides…

    And not only that, you’ve inspired me to really take a look at how engaged I am in life around me…

    Beautiful post, Tammy…. simply beautiful!

  4. Hi Tammy,

    Great metaphor. Yes, I venture beyond my pond all the time. Always exploring, rebelling, getting in trouble. Really fun. We are trained for the most part to be content in our little pond to not try to jump into another. I don’t know why we keep perpetuating this horror.

    Will check out your artwork! Thanks, G.

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