Pond Scum

I’ve written before about the park behind my house – one of my favorite places in California.  It’s where I walk my Schnauzer on the days I’m not traveling.  Winding streams feed into a central lake that empties into more winding streams.  It’s beautiful, and a great place for refreshment when life gets crazy.

There’s fish.  There are squirrels. There is every imaginable kind of bird, flitting among every imaginable kind of tree.

And there’s pond scum.

Not all the time.  But fairly often.

Pond scumIt’s a green, foamy sludge that floats on the surface of the lake.  It’s only in one spot – about the first ten feet from the shoreline next to a road.  There’s a stream that enters right there.  But it enters through an inlet that goes under the road.  That means the stream comes in at the bottom of the lake rather than the top.

That means the water doesn’t get stirred up from the stream’s movement.  It’s quiet and still.

And it grows pond scum.

I did a little online research to find out about pond scum.  It forms when still water is warmed by direct sunlight.  It’s the perfect storm for growing green stuff.

The green stuff isn’t all bad.  In fact, there’s some serious talk in government circles about using it as fuel.  Seriously.

But it doesn’t look nice.  It could ruin my walk if I let it.  A beautiful landscape, tainted with pond scum.

I’ve learned a simple truth about life from observing pond scum:

Scum grows in my life when I’m disengaged and still, and spend too much time being warm and comfortable.

I’m not talking about relaxation.  I’m all for “restoring my soul” as often as possible. 

But when I disengage and lose a sense of purpose, I get too “still.”  If I forget that I was designed to “make a difference” and lose my focus, I stop moving.  When I stay in my comfort zone too long, it becomes all about me instead of others.

And I start growing scum.  I lose my keen edge.  I don’t make an impact. 

We’re made to move.  We need times of rest, but as a means rather than an end.  We can make a significant difference in the lives of others if we stay engaged.

Catch your breath today.  Refresh.  Restore.

Then start moving.  Impact the world, one life at a time.

It’s time to commit to a scum-free life.







Senior Consultant at FranklinCovey; Speaker, Author of 5 books – including “People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys,” “I Wish He Had Come With Instructions,” and “Dealing With the Elephant in the Room.” (See Book page)

  • Derek Atchley Dc

    Agreed!! Thank you for the reminder