Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fountains of Youth

The very first fountain I ever saw
was the J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.
Words cannot describe how astonished and delighted I was
as my dad drove us down Main Street to 47th where the fountain was located.
I'll never forget those rushing arches of water
and the equestrian bronzes in full gallop
seemingly racing out from the splashing water.

Here's a great page with some of the fountain's back story.
People who think they know the JC Nichols Fountain will want to read this:

Here in the Shire, we've nothing quite so grand as Kansas City,
which rightly describes itself as the "city of fountains."
Here we have a number of commercial "spouting" fountains,
usually centered in former  borrow pits
transformed into duck ponds after construction.
Not that I'm complaining; I love all fountains
--even water fountains, whimsically called "bubblers"
 in the flatlands of southeastern Wisconsin.

There is a duck pond near our house and I get the same sense of wonder
when I drive by and see its fountain,
which is sometimes shooting up more than one story,
and other times much less robust. Here it is in a waning period:

And here is a 20-second video of it splashing:

Not far from here, there is a massive fountain that I like
decorating a shopping area:
I enjoy going to that shopping center for dinner
and then taking a stroll over to the fountain.

Closer to home,
we have a small fountain that we are quite fond of.
Nothing says it's summer like having dinner al fresco
while a cheerful fountain bubbles and trickles in the background.

Here's our pineapple fountain from the Summer of 2009:

I re-painted it and waxed it last fall,
but the overall effect is less pleasing to me than that of  its original condition.
However, this 20-second video shows
the pineapple fountain still has a charming gurgle which lifts the spirits,
making one feel light and youthful:

Finally, I don't think I could conclude this discussion of fountains
without mentioning that a few years ago,
my sisters and I visited Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth
in St. Augustine, Florida.
Given my love of fountains, I was very excited to visit.
Yet, nothing prepared me for the foul smell of sulphur
that bubbled up from that mythical "fountain" under the rocks.
Oh, my. It was memorable.
All the visitors were given tiny paper cups of the water from the Fountain of Youth,
but I could only take a couple of sips of that sulphuric tonic.
Some would say that means I'll never be forever young, but here's what I know:
One doesn't need to drink from a magic fountain to retain youthful vitality.
Just listening to water bubble and spill over a summer evening restores one's soul.

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