Drained the Pond

“Remain in the world, act in the world, do whatsoever is needful, and yet remain transcendental, aloof, detached, a lotus flower in the pond.”
Osho, The Secret of Secrets

There are these ponds in the park at the end of my block. I think they are mostly there for flood control, but they look great. I’ve taken photos of them over the years.

Pond at the end of my block, Huffhines Park, Richardson, Texas

The ponds at the end of my block, Richardson, Texas

The ponds at the end of my street,
Huffhines Park,
Richardson, Texas

Men Between the Ponds

Men Between the Ponds

The ponds are surrounded by hiking/biking trails – it’s on my work bicycling commute. I always enjoy riding past or around the ponds – except on the days/times that the trail is too crowded.

Not too long ago, I noticed a guy sitting by the pond watching his black lab out in the water. The dog wasn’t far from shore – but still the water barely came up to his dog knees. That’s when I realized the ponds are a lot shallower than they look. They must be silted full.

Sure enough, a couple weeks ago, as I rode to work, I noticed an orange temporary fence around the pond and machines installing huge sheets of plywood, making a road to the water’s edge on the other side of the pond. Then, some workers started visiting the pond all day and night, using big portable pumps to empty the water out.

Then came in the giant shovel machines to scoop out the black muck. It was so vile and watery they had to lime it and then stir the mix with the long arms of the shovel buckets to stabilize it enough to scoop it into waiting trucks. The smell was awful – that mud had a lot of grass clippings, trash, and who knows what mixed with it and it had been sitting down there underwater for years.

One day there was an elderly woman sitting on a bench with her tiny dog held in her lap. They both were watching the machines work – unbothered by the smell of the muck and the diesel fumes from the straining engines. Everybody else seemed to be ignoring the scene.

Finally, they seem to have finished. I wondered what the bottom of the ponds would be like – they were too  big to be concrete lined. I forgot that there is caliche limestone only a few feet below the surface (that’s why nobody in Dallas has a basement) and it looks like they scooped some of the rock out (it isn’t very strong) when they made the ponds – making big oval saucer-shaped indentations in the earth.

The equipment is being loaded up – I guess they will start letting the ponds fill in now. The calendar says fall – but it’s still summer here in Texas – not sure how long until we get enough rain… we’ll see. When they are filled I guess they will look exactly the same as they did before. Deep water looks just like shallow.

The drained and scooped pond at Huffhines Park.

The caliche limestone at the bottom of the pond. Huffhines park, Richardson, Texas.

The Only Thing That Could Spoil A Day Was People

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Glencoe Park, Dallas, Texas

A Trick That Is Too Much Fun

“Sometimes a writer, like an acrobat, must try a trick that is too much for him.”

― E.B. White

Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

To get my holiday time off work to an exciting start – I spent a day arranging and organizing my room. I’ve built a new desk and am working on setting it up neatly and efficiently. Part of the work was getting my backup external hard drives out and making sure they work properly. Looking through my old photographs I found this one, part of a set I took years ago at Klyde Warren. I have used other version on the blog before, but felt like playing around with it a bit.

The weather is nice now…. I need to get out.

 

 

The Thud of a Great Beast Stamping

“The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Children’s Waterpark, Waxahachie, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Would anybody want it?

There’s a button on a stand. The button doesn’t do anything at first – but then the water, a little bit at first, then more and more and more until torrents are spewing from pipes and nozzles. A plastic bucket fills, tilts, and dumps it’s cargo of dihydrogen monoxide out in a foamy amoeba into the hot Texas sun.

Water in Waxahachie

Fountain in Waxahachie

Photo taken on a Photowalk. At a child’s waterpark, a new splash pad, near downtown Waxahachie, Texas… you push a button and the various water things come to life, designed to sprinkle youngsters on hot Texas summer days. Here, two streams cunningly combine to form a disk of water, suspended in air, ephemeral as water can be.

Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble
pricked and the green thread
nibbled away, the petal fell, falling
until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons
from stone,
and in those functionings plays out
the unrealized ambitions of the foam.
—-Water, by Pablo Neruda

Crescent Park

There is nothing more boring than riding an exercise bike. In order to try and get my bad-weather (ie over 100 degrees) exercise going, one thing I like to do is watch POV YouTube videos of other people riding their bikes in more interesting places than my spare room. I know that’s pretty bad – but you have to do what you have to do.

I mounted a monitor and speakers to my bike, and watch videos while I ride. One of the ones I like to ride to is this hour-long ride around New Orleans.

At the nine-minute fifty-second mark in the video, the riders climb over some crazy rusted-steel arch-shaped bridge. I’ve wondered what that thing is… it looks like it’s in the Bywater area, but I can’t be sure.

The other day, on my last day in New Orleans for the writing marathon, my son Lee and I drove down to the quarter for lunch and I mentioned the strange bridge. He knew exactly what I was talking about and we hopped in his car and drove there.

Crescent Park Bridge, New Orleans

It’s a really cool park, Crescent Park, built along the Mississippi from the French Market area down to the Bywater neighborhood.

The bridge takes pedestrians (and cyclists, if they carry their bikes) over the levee and the railroad tracks into the park. It’s a beautiful spot – a new favorite in the Big Easy. I have to visit it with my bike next time.

My son, Lee, on the Crescent Park bridge.

The river and the Hwy 90 double bridge from the Crescent Park Bridge, New Orleans

Turning around, looking back the other way from the Crescent Park Bridge, Bywater Neighborhood, New Orleans

Bywater, from the Crescent Park Bridge, New Orleans

The river and downtown, from the Crescent Park Bridge, New Orleans