Nancy Best Fountain

“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday I took some photos of the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

The kids loved the water and the multicolored lights.

Morse Code

“Code is not like other how-computers-work books. It doesn’t have big color illustrations of disk drives with arrows showing how the data sweeps into the computer. Code has no drawings of trains carrying a cargo of zeros and ones. Metaphors and similes are wonderful literary devices but they do nothing but obscure the beauty of technology.”
― Charles Petzold, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Pacific Plaza Park, Dallas, Texas

Sawtooth Reflections

“A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere. This was the sort of resident who was content to do nothing but sit in his over-priced apartment, watch television with the sound turned down, and wait for his neighbours to make a mistake.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Downtown Dallas, Texas

When I moved to Dallas, many moons ago, in 1981 – the city center was in a building boom (one of many). Reflective glass hi-rise buildings rose all around me as I walked from the bus stop to my work everyday. I’d go out onto the streets for lunch, eat greasy Chinese food in a little park (if the weather was bearable), and look up at the construction high overhead.

I was fascinated at how many glass hi-rises had curtain walls that were sawtooth-shaped. It easy to figure out why. That shape gives a large number of corner offices – which are loaded with prestige and command a premium price.

For the proletariat eating their egg rolls on the street – they also have cool reflections.

Nancy Best Fountain at Night

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it’s so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge
― REM, Nightswimming

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday the Dallas Photowalk folks had a sunset photowalk planned at Klyde Warren Park here in Dallas. I took the DART train down there – which was good because the traffic was horrific. We met up at six or so, walked around, took some photos of people taking salsa dancing lessons and then walked down to the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

At sundown the light and sound show surrounding the fountain began. The water shot high in the air and the kids danced around in the water like they were actually having a good time.

Playing in the Fountain

“Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side.”
― Jim Morrison

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday the Dallas Photowalk folks had a sunset photowalk planned at Klyde Warren Park here in Dallas. I took the DART train down there – which was good because the traffic was horrific. We met up at six or so, walked around, took some photos of people taking salsa dancing lessons and then walked down to the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

From the website:

By day, the Fountain is an interactive play area for families and a relaxing respite in the heart of Dallas. It features a 5,000-square-foot splash pad, which can accommodate hundreds of children at a time.

By night, just after sunset, the Fountain will come alive for 30 to 45 minutes with dancing water and a choreographed light and music show, which changes monthly.


Guests are encouraged to play in the water—even during the evening performances—making it one of the most unique fountains in the world.

And that is how it was. The summer heat is fading a bit here in Dallas, but it is still plenty hot. Hordes of children played on the vast concrete pad running around between intermittent computer controlled spurts of cooling water.

I tried to buy some food from a nearby truck, but the line and the wait was too long.

Then, as the sun set, the music began and the huge fountain came to life. Colorful giant streams of water burst into the sky, raining down onto the crowd of children who rushed around screaming in joy.

There has been a lot of criticism of this new fountain… it was too expensive/big/Dallas-y/pretentious/obnoxious/wasteful.

for example:

“During a time where there are literally lines of cars over a mile long trying to get donated food, a $10 million fountain just screams ‘Let them eat cake,’” says community activist Soraya Santos. “I’m an art lover, and I am proud of our Arts District and our beautiful downtown parks, and would have loved to see this at any other time, but right now it’s incredibly tone-deaf.”

or another:

A Facebook group called DFW Corona Connection had several posts and comments criticizing the use of the money, suggesting it could’ve been better spent on homeless shelters or other pandemic relief efforts.

“Because a 10 story, $10 million water fountain is exactly what this community needs to bounce back from a pandemic-driven economic crisis. How do you spell tone deaf?” wrote page administrator Josh Smith.

I had read all this and was interested in actually seeing the thing and deciding for myself.

Well, that’s all bullshit. It’s fantastic. Hundreds of kids were having a blast – as were their parents watching them. A free blast, I’ll add. No tax payer money went to the fountain; it was built completely through donations. What is a better way to “bounce back” from the draconian pandemic restrictions than with a unique public space/amenity that brings children and adults together, giving them insane amounts of joy.

I took some photos – they are on my desktop now and I’m working my way through them – you’ll see more than a few here in the coming days. Sorry about that.

And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon

“Rockabye Baby, in the treetop
Dont you know a treetop
is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
and your cradle too?
Baby,
I think someone down here
has got it in for you!”
― Shel Silverstein

CityLine, Richardson Texas
Sculpture – Over The Moon, Gordon Huether, 2016
Bicycle – Cannondale Touring Bike, 1987o

I decided to ride up to CityLine, about a five mile ride from my house. It’s a huge new development in the long-vacant space of the old Huffhines family farm. At first I was a bit disappointed in the development but as it has matured and mellowed out I am beginning to really like the place. There are sculptures of all sizes and styles scattered throughout – I sat near this one and enjoyed a water bottle before riding back home.

The End of the Drought

“It cannot be described, this awesome chain of events that depopulated the whole Earth; the range is too tremendous for any to picture of encompass. Of the people of Earth’s unfortunate ages, billions of years before, only a few prophets and madman could have conceived that which was to come – could have grasped visions of the still, dead lands, and long-empty sea-beds. The rest would have doubted… doubted alike the shadow of change upon the planet and the shadow of doom upon the race. For man has always thought himself the immortal master of natural things…”
― H.P. Lovecraft

Huffhines Creek, From the Yale Street Bridge, upstream, after a rain.

Here in Dallas we had been in a drought for the whole summer. It’s always hot and dry here in the summer months, but this was especially bad – we hadn’t had any rain at our house for a couple months (it had rained a bit in South Dallas two weeks ago) – our lawn was brown and all the doors in our house were stuck – the clay soil here shrinks something awful and distorts foundations and houses.

But yesterday we went to Fort Worth with my son and his girlfriend to visit the Best Maid Pickle Museum and grab lunch at Brewed (one of my favorites – I once rode the train and my bike all the way to Fort Worth for some Chicken and Waffles there). On the way back we drove into a Thunderstorm – it was scary on the freeways.

But it wasn’t as bad (we saw no standing water) as it would get later that night. Parts of East Dallas had nine to fifteen inches of rain, causing terrible flash floods.

This was a freak storm – but I am used to the summer phenomenon here of the sudden hard thunderstorm ending a drought.

For example, from my old blog – Tuesday, August 04, 1998 24 years ago.

Drops

I drove home from work this afternoon, the tape of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” speaking its pages from the tape deck. Now, to listen to a tape while driving takes a lot of concentration. I can listen and drive, watch the road, but not anything else. It’s plot, voice, character, and oncoming traffic. Some effort, skill maybe, is needed; I’ve been checking out tapes long enough now that I can do it.

With all my attention focused like that I didn’t even consciously notice some shapes smearing on the windshield. Instinctively, my hand twisted the know on the steering column, setting the wipers in motion. Several minutes went buy before I actually realized what was happening, what was smattering on the glass.

It was raining.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be any deal at all. But it has been so long, exactly a month actually, and the intervening oven days so broiling that I had forgotten about rain. No more than a sprinkle, but ohh, it looked so good.

I stopped for gas. Shoved my card into the slot and clicked the automatic hook-deal on the handle so the gas would flow on its own. I purposely stepped back, out from under the sheltering gas station roof onto the unprotected part of the apron. I wanted to feel the rain, get wet, see the spots form on my white business shirt. I felt like yelling, singing, dancing.

The smell was wonderful. I had forgotten the odor of fresh rain on dry grass.

Not much of a rain, not enough to end the drought. The hundred degree days will return by this weekend. But it was something… a respite. More than that, it was the return of hope. The killer heat will dissipate, the drought will be drowned. Until today, those indisputable facts were impossible to imagine.

Hope- a reminder that things will get better, that we will all survive. That’s what we’ve been missing.

Bicycling at Dawn

“Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

My vintage Cannondale touring bike at Trammell Crow Park in the Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

Candy had a flight to California to visit some friends and I took her to the airport early – at about 5:45 in the morning. Since I retired I have not driven more than a couple miles – except for taking folks to and from the airport – I have been using my bike for transportation. Since I was driving to Love Field to drop Candy off before dawn, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I loaded my bike and cycling stuff into the car and drove from Love Field down to Trammell Crow Park in the river bottoms (not very far at all) and waited for the sun to come up behind the crystal towers of downtown.

An HDR photo I tooke years ago of the Cow sculptures in Trammell Crow Park – (click to enlarge)

I have been to this odd park by the river many times over the decades. It’s surprisingly isolated – plus more than a little sketchy at night. At this time of the morning there was only one other car – a guy was out letting his black Labrador retriever run in the vast open space of the floodplain (you can see him and his dog in the photo with my bike above) – but nobody else.

There is a relatively new trail that runs from the park (there has been a trail from downtown to the park for years) all the way west to a new bridge over the river and then connects to the South Campion trail in Irving. This is park of the connecting piece that, when finished, will connect Dallas and Fort Worth with cycling trails.

I have ridden the Irving trails but was very interested in riding the new connector in the river bottoms. Once the sun was above the horizon, I clipped in, rode one lap around where the little park lake used to be (it has dried up completely during the current drought) and then branched out to the west. I was a little nervous about leaving the car unattended in the isolated park – it is an area where bad things could happen – but not too many hoodlums are up and about at six in the morning

It was a blast. The concrete of the trail is smooth and wide and the area is wide open. There is a vast space between the levees on each side – which is full of water during flood stage – but was very dry right now. To the south, about a mile away, giant construction machines roared away moving huge mounds of earth – in a project to build up the levees along the Trinity river.

I rode about six miles across the bridge into Irving and down the Campion trail a bit – then turned around and headed back. On my return trip, I started to see more and more cyclists coming the other way, and a couple that actually passed me (I am the world’s slowest cyclist, after all).

When I made it back to the park, I was surprised to see the parking lot – and a second, overflow lot – completely filled with cars. There were a lot of folks out on the trail – most with bikes but a few dog walkers. Plus there were two spirited games of cricket going on in the flat space of the river bottom.

I guess I didn’t have to worry about the car sitting out there by itself.

It was so much fun. As my health improves and fitness increases I want to go back and ride farther. And farther. And farther.