During Winnie's stay with the Tucks, Angus takes her out on the pond in his rowboat. The pond is fed by a small river on one side and empties via another river on the other side. Angus allows the boat to get stuck in some roots and weeds on the downstream side of the river, and he suggests that the boat's relationship to the water is symbolic of the Tucks' place in the world. Because the Tucks can’t die, they'll never complete the cycle of life, which Tuck explains to Winnie by telling her about the water cycle. The Tucks, like the boat, will remain stuck forever, even as the rest of the world, as represented by the water, continues to move and change.
The Boat and the Pond Quotes in Tuck Everlasting
"Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together. This water, you look out at it every morning, and it looks the same, but it ain't. All night long it's been moving, coming in through the stream back there to the west, slipping out through the stream down east here, always quiet, always new, moving on."
Winnie blinked, and all at once her mind was drowned with understanding of what he was saying. For she--yes, even she--would go out of the world willy-nilly someday. Just go out, like the flame of a candle, and no use protesting. It was a certainty. She would try very hard not to think of it, but sometimes, as now, it would be forced upon her. She raged against it, helpless and insulted, and blurted at last, "I don't want to die."
"If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I'd do it in a minute. You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road."
"It'd be nice," she said, "if nothing ever had to die."
"Well now, I don't know," said Miles. "If you think on it, you come to see there'd be so many creatures, including people, we'd all be squeezed in right up next to each other before long."
"You mean, if he dies," Winnie had said, flatly, and they had sat back, shocked. Soon after, they put her to bed, with many kisses. But they peered at her anxiously over their shoulders as they tiptoed out of her bedroom, as if they sensed that she was different now from what she had been before. As if some part of her had slipped away.