A Drone Over the Trinity

“Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The scenes of the swollen Trinity river have been popular sightseeing attractions here for the last few weeks. Luckily, here, the flooding has been more of an inconvenience that the deadly danger that it has posed downstream. The high water is an interesting and strangely beautiful change – and not so morbid of an attraction.

In this modern world, odd occurrences inevitably attract a new breed of gawker – drones. A couple showed up at the Continental Bridge Park while I was down there looking at the water. They had a drone in a case – extracted it, and flew it around the place.
I think it was one of these. It was very capable, flying all over the place, a surprising distance. The pilot must have been very confident – if anything went wrong it would have been lost forever in the rushing floodwaters.

The drone flying off the edge of the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

The drone flying off the edge of the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

The drone with the cable stays of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background.

The drone with the cable stays of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background.

The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

This wasn’t shot on the same day, but some of the footage is in the same spot.

Texas Flood

Well there’s floodin’ down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down
Well there’s floodin’ down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down
And I’ve been tryin’ to call my baby
Lord and I can’t get a single sound

Well dark clouds are rollin’ in
Man I’m standin’ out in the rain
Well dark clouds are rollin’ in
Man I’m standin’ out in the rain
Yeah flood water keep a rollin’
Man it’s about to drive poor me insane
—-Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughn

Trinity River,  Dallas, Texas

Trinity River,
Dallas, Texas

Legions Of These Myrmidons

“One day when I went out to my wood-pile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another. Having once got hold they never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a bellum, a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying, both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I was out moving around the city with my bicycle and a DART pass. I had my tablet in a backpack and decided to head downtown and see if there was anything interesting on my Love Lock USB Dead Drop. The water in the Trinity was up, but I didn’t know how high it was on that day – so I thought I’d at least give it a shot.

Crossing the river on the DART train I looked out and saw the Santa Fe Trestle trail snaking its way across and a few inches above the water – so it looked like I could make the crossing. I started to ride down from the Corinth train station and soon I was on a narrow strip of concrete with water all around.

Finally, though, I reached a spot where the water was coursing over the pavement. I’m not an idiot, I knew it was time to head back. I did get off my bike and fished out my camera for some flood shots.

Concentrating on the water and my camera I didn’t notice one important fact. All the fire ants from across the vast river bottom plain had been forced up onto the narrow strip of trail. At my feet they were boiling in a thick red mass.

If you know anything about Texas – you know that fire ants will swarm you and then when one bites, they all do. Nasty, nasty things.

It hurt, but not too bad. I did the fire and dance, sweeping them off as fast as I could.

Then it was out of there, as fast as I could pedal.

The Santa Fe Trestle Trail snaking its way through the flooded Trinity River Bottoms. Dallas, Texas.

The Santa Fe Trestle Trail snaking its way through the flooded Trinity River Bottoms.
Dallas, Texas.

The view across the Flooded Trinity, Dallas, Texas

The view across the Flooded Trinity, Dallas, Texas

As the water moved from one side of the trail to the other, through drowned drainage pipes, it left a maelstrom in it s wake. Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

As the water moved from one side of the trail to the other, through drowned drainage pipes, it left a maelstrom in its wake.
Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

Finally, the water overtakes the trail. Dallas, Texas

Finally, the water overtakes the trail.
Dallas, Texas

Too Lost By Then To Stop

“I dream that I have found us both again,
With spring so many strangers’ lives away,
And we, so free,
Out walking by the sea,
With someone else’s paper words to say….

They took us at the gates of green return,
Too lost by then to stop, and ask them why-
Do children meet again?
Does any trace remain,
Along the superhighways of July?”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

Continental Bridge Park,
Dallas, Texas

I Am Haunted By Waters

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Before and After

Entrance to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail, Dallas, Texas

I took this photo on a fun organized bike ride last October.

We lost about half the ride at Lee Harvey's - but here's the rest at the Santa Fe Trestle Trail. (click for a larger, better version on Flickr)

We lost about half the ride at Lee Harvey’s – but here’s the rest at the Santa Fe Trestle Trail.
(click for a larger, better version on Flickr)

Here’s what the same spot looks like now.

Downtown from the entrance to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail, Dallas, Texas

Downtown from the entrance to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail,
Dallas, Texas

Its Own Existence Whether It’s Noticed Or Not.

My attitude is, I make the sculpture in the studio on my own terms on my own time, and I want to see it go out of the studio and have its own existence whether it’s noticed or not.
—-Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg's "Line of Thought" Dallas, Texas

Tony Cragg’s “Line of Thought”
Dallas, Texas

Ever since I saw his exhibition at the Nasher a few years ago, I have been a fan of Tony Cragg. It was a tough time for me and visiting his sculpture meant something to me – it gave me an ethereal comfort. I think I found it reassuring that independently beauty still existed in the world.

Then I shot his work in the sculpture garden of the Dallas Museum of Art. Earlier this year, I found another work I liked in a museum in Houston.

At any rate, it is one thing to see sculpture in a museum or gallery – in a carefully-prepared setting – it is something entirely different to see sculpture in the wild… especially unexpectedly.

We were riding through Uptown Dallas at night on the monthly Critical Mass Ride, when I spotted a large sculpture out in front of a fancy office building – and it was undoubtedly a Tony Cragg. It was really cool to see, even if I had to keep on pedaling on.

Later, it didn’t take much internet searching to determine that the sculpture was Tony Cragg’s “Line of Thought” out in front of the Rosewood Court Complex. It has been there for a number of years, but I had never noticed it. Of course, that isn’t really my hood….

The weekend of the Uptown Ciclovía, where a street through uptown was closed to automobiles I made a point of finding the Rosewood Court (the Ciclovia route went right by it) and stopped to look and take a photo.

It was cool finding Cragg in the wild.

Tony Cragg's "Line of Thought" Dallas, Texas

Tony Cragg’s “Line of Thought”
Dallas, Texas

The Sense Of the Beautiful

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

Continental Bridge Park,
Dallas, Texas
(click image for a larger version in Flickr)

Well We Know Where We’re Goin’

Well, we know where we’re goin’
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowin’
But we can’t say what we’ve seen

And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride

—-Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

Then and Now

Not long ago, back in January, I posted a photo of the trails in the Trinity River Bottoms taken from the Continental Street Bridge Park. The entry was called Ride To Nowhere.

Here’s the photo:

Trinity Skyline Trail (east side) from the Continental Bridge Park Dallas, Texas

Trinity Skyline Trail (east side)
from the Continental Bridge Park
Dallas, Texas

Now, it really does go nowhere.

Flooded river bottoms, there is a concrete trail under that water, if you look closely, you can see the trail marker. Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

Flooded river bottoms, there is a concrete trail under that water, if you look closely, you can see the trail marker.
Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

At least the big tree has leafed out nicely.

Something Else That’s Weird But True

“Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”
― David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

Then and now, the view of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge from the Continental Bridge Park

December 23, 2014 – Time Gaines Momentum

View of the Trinity River and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

View of the Trinity River and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

May 17, 2015

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Trinity River Flood Stage, Dallas, Texas

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Trinity River Flood Stage, Dallas, Texas