Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fort Worth Water Gardens

We are now parked in a Grand Prairie city park near Joe Pool Lake.  It is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area - a place which was not in our plans to be parked.  Apparently there is a Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins foot ball game going on this week-end, so all the recreational vehicle parks are full.    Had we known, we would have reserved a spot ahead of time.  But it has turned out to be all the better for us.  In the park where we are located there are lots of beautiful trees and no city noise.  A neighbor said a skunk walked past his campfire the other evening.  Yesterday I saw a coyote walking close to our home- that sure made our cat sit up and take notice!  John and I were in this area a couple of years ago, so we have already seen a lot of the tourist sites of Dallas and Fort Worth.  However, we have not seen the Water Gardens located in downtown Fort Worth.  That is where we headed out to visit on Wednesday. The gardens have  lakes, forests and a mountain.  The mountain is in reality concrete sandblasted tiers rising 20 feet above the ground.  As you may imagine, this is not the real deal, only a sense of it.  The gardens do contain over 500 species of plants and trees.  One of the architects of the park, Philip Johnson, referred to the story of "Alice in Wonderland" in his description of his design of the Water Garden.  He wanted visitors of the park to have the experience of growing bigger and also smaller with never having a clue as to when that would happen.  I felt very small standing in the pool pictured below.  The pool  has a circular waterfall tumbling 38 feet down multiple tiers into a pool surrounded by stepping stones.  It also gave me a dizzy feeling just hearing the water rushing under and flowing around me.
 There is another pond with aerated water which has 40 special nozzles spraying water above the surface of the pool.  Also in the park is a quiet pool, which is surrounded by bald cypress trees.
 My attention was draw to the cypress trees because a lot of them have their leaves gone and they just do not look too pretty at this time of the year. Then I noticed the cypress knees which are coming up in different areas around the pool and causing cracks in the concrete.  In the picture below you can see dark spots in the concrete, those are cypress knees.
I wondered why bald cypress trees would be planted in a concrete place where their knees cannot push up into the soft earth.  While I was puzzling over that conundrum a young man asked me what was the date.  After I answered that question he volunteered the information that he had just been released from prison after 4 years.  He was in need of food and starting to feel that maybe he would be better off back in prison.  He showed me his identification card to explain why he asked what day it was.  I noticed that his birth date was November 28.  There was something else on the card which glared out at me.  In the middle of the card in bold print was the word OFFENDER.  Now why are ex-convicts issued that kind of an identification card?  Why not give them a card without those words so they can possibly get on with their life?  Not to even mention that it is demoralizing!  But just maybe, like my question regarding the cypress trees, I do not have the full picture.  The rest of our afternoon was spent at the Kimball Art Museum.  We timed our visit there so we could join a docent led tour of the museum.  Most interesting to me on that guided tour was Michelangelo's first painting, done by him at the age of 13 years.  We were told by our guide that the painter went to a fish market and there got his ideas for the demons which he painted into the picture.  The art work, "Torment of Saint Anthony" is a picture of the saint surrounded by devils.  One demon has squidlike wings.  It is quite an impressive piece to be drawn by so young a boy!

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