Chapter 2

The Friends of Our Pond were eagerly waiting for SNAG to tell them why he had POSEY racing around at top speed.  What  had happened? What was  new?

They all went very quiet as SNAG started to speak, in an excited voice, “You all know that everything I have been doing, for a very long time, is trying to find water for our new, thirsty Friends in the White Cloud. Every day we have filled the small buckets we carry in POSEY's Chariot with all the water we can find and have given it to some of the most thirsty birds--but it was never enough. We take the water from small streams, and little ponds, but it was never enough! We need a river, or a lake--but the ones that we know of are too far away.”

“Yesterday, I was very tired and I was looking for a place  to  sleep. I found a pile of leaves on a dry, little hill, in the middle of the dry field, just over by the Our Pond forest. When I lay down,    I hit my head on three, fresh, juicy apples. The next morning,  I  was wondering  where  those  apples  had  come  from and  I found a big, healthy-looking Apple Tree on the very top of the little, dry hill. I ate one of the apples. It was ripe and juicy--the Juice actually dribbled off my chin!”

“I looked at the tree with care, and counted about fifty, ripe, red apples. How could this  be? One tree,  all  by itself, in the middle  of all the dry, brown land--with no green grass, no other living, growing thing around. This tree is BIG. I sat on its roots. It is massive and must have been growing there for a long  time.  Where was it getting its water? I do not have the  answer.  The only possible place I could go was to come to you, my dear  friends, and see if we can figure it out  together.”
BUBBLEBATH, the artistic fish, was in the big bucket on POSEY’s  Chariot.  This  is  where  he  always  sat  to  attend  the Our Pond meetings. He shot out a stream of red bubbles to get attention, pushed his big head up, and asked, “ When you were sitting on the roots, did you notice if there was a puddle, or the sound of rushing water?”

“No, maybe I was too excited, but I do  not remember  anything like that,” SNAG replied.

SALLY, the little, green snake, said, “Did you s-s-see any open holes in the tree, or wet  s-s-spots?”

SNAG answered, “No, I did not see anything wet at all--except  the juicy apple I was  eating.”

NOZZLE looked around for the huge bird that The Friends of Our Pond called SHARD. Oh, there he was, high in the top branches of the big pine tree. NOZZLE called to him. SHARD dropped down like a stone, opened his wide wings, and  stopped, almost in mid-air, before drifting over to his favorite, fat, log resting place, and asked if he was needed?

“Yes,” replied NOZZLE, “I was just thinking--if the water for this tree was coming from some faraway  place,  who  might  best  know of having seen that place. Who among The Friends of Our Pond saw more in a day than anyone else would see  in  their entire life? My dear SHARD, the answer is you!”

SHARD stretched his long neck out as high  as  possible, pointed his beak straight up, and closed his huge eyes. He hummed for a moment, and asked, “SNAG, were there a lot of rocks around the roots of that tree?”

SNAG was surprised by the question. He jumped up, and said, “Oh, yes, oh, yes, there were! How did you know? I mean, I did not think the rocks were important. I was looking at all that apple juice and thinking about thirsty birds, and things.”
“Now, I am sure I have the answer!” said SHARD, snapping his giant beak. He lifted his long, right leg, and pointed his toe toward a nearby range of tall mountains. “You cannot see it from here, but in the lowlands, amongst those mountains, there is a small peak covered in snow! It is much higher than we are, and is hidden by the other mountains. Remember what I have said--it is higher than we are.”

“I have flown over that mountain, on restful flights, many times, and I have seen that the snowcap changes. Part of the year the Snow Mountain is completely  covered  with  snow!  Summer comes. It must get warmer there, and the snow starts to melt-- making water. Then the snowcap gets much smaller.  Winter comes. It gets colder, and gradually more  snow falls,  and  the little mountain  is  completely snow-covered again.  So, the snow  is coming, and going away, as  water.  All  that  snow is  turning into water  every  year--and that water  must head  downhill!”

SHARD gave a big laugh, and said, “That little snow-covered mountain must be  feeding  water  to  several  underground rivers. It is higher than we are and, of course, the  water  must  be  flowing downhill with enough water pressure to reach SNAG's Apple Tree. We are sure of this because SNAG found three, beautiful, fresh apples, full of juice. Juice  has a lot of water in   it-
-and so do leaves, and roots. The Apple Tree is getting enough water each year to keep it healthy!”

SHARD raised his huge  wings,  to  get  everyone's  attention. Then he said in a loud, deep voice, “I am sure that this little snow-capped mountain is where the water you need  will  be  coming from, but The Friends of Our Pond are not strong enough to bring it here to form a lake. The Snow Mountain is  so  far  away. Just imagine all the digging that would be needed! Right now, we do not even know exactly where the river is.”

That was all SHARD had to say, so he flapped his wings twice, and glided up to his usual place, on the top of the friendly, old Pine Tree.