Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Water In Home Places



We are very fortunate at Hidden Springs where our home is perched over a number of springs that fill a pool that may hold as much as 5,000 gallons.  Those springs and pool are at the lower end of the land we steward.  Even with natural springs we have brought water into closer proximity to our home.  Visitors to our front door are greeted with a small pool fed by a trickle of recirculated water that sounds like the tinkling of tiny crystal bells. The window in the studio of my artist wife Penny (http://artjourney-penny.blogspot.com) looks out over what we call the Studio Gardens complete with an ornamental pond, water lilies and other plants, frogs, and the frequent raccoon or two. One additional ‘water feature’ is located on the slope below the window in my study.  I can’t see it but I often see the other residents of Hidden Springs who come to water there.  During the late summer of 2013 an Eastern Whitetail doe had her fawn in the rhododendrons within a few feet of the house.  For the first few days, while her fawn was growing steady legs she took water from the small pool below the Study window.  It may be that the oldest recorded water gardens, or perhaps water features, were in what is called the Cradle of Civilization in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. But the idea either spread rapidly or occurred almost simultaneously involving Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, China, India, Japan, Rome, Persia and a number of other places among the evolving peoples of Earth.  What is it that we look for in these often quiet places and still waters?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Water in Wet Places

Living in the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains, one can become jaded about water. There is a lot of it here.  Often the streams and ditches run full.  Almost every low place is a puddle complete with frogs and dragonflies.  Only a few minutes from our home at Hidden Springs is an area that boasts literally hundreds of waterfalls.  And, according to climate change models, it is supposed to get wetter here in these mountains. 

It is easy to take all of that water for granted unless, like me, you were raised in a very dry place where you don’t take water for granted…not even a tiny trickle or a stagnant pool.  Even in a place literally overflowing with water some places are special.  For example, there is a small stream only a few miles from our home.  Not much more than a trickle, this stream wanders down a canyon beside a trail.  There is one place along the trial where I always stop to take a closer look at the stream.  At this spot the stream flows into a quiet, shallow pool. The pool is surrounded by lush grass and framed by a fallen long. I’m not sure what it is about this spot that grabs my attention.  I suspect it might be something about the peace that I feel here and, possibly, the harmony with which Nature has arranged the elements of the place.  I think most of us seek these special places in our lives, at least those of us who have some sense of the wild and the beauty in Nature.