We walk. First to a large pond, big enough that I would call it a small lake. Freeman dug this pond himself, before the house was built. “I finished it July 4, 1996,” he says. “And it started to fill that very day.” It looks pretty homemade, rough-hewn, scrappy at its edges. There Freeman stands on the bank, looking toward the details only the pond maker can see. It’s hard not to watch him watching something else. The man stares into the distance better than anyone, ever. I ask: Are there fish in here?
“There were fish in here days after it filled,” he says.
I nod. “So you stocked it.”
“It stocked itself. The world takes over pretty fast.”
Another paradox. A man-made pond, left to settle into the ecosystem of its own device, as if it were a citizen of the natural world rather than a collection pond scraped out of the earth by a movie star.
“I built it for protection,” he says. “My land sits on the very edge of the delta.”
He gives me a look then, stern and a bit wide-eyed, then speaks as if he’d just cleared his throat. “The delta doesn’t flood.”
“Not out here?”
“Not from the river, anyway,” he says.
“I didn’t know that,” I allow.
“This isn’t a floodplain,” he continues. “I wouldn’t build on a floodplain. I’d be a fool to do that.”
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