What is it about fountains that make people go, ahhh, or that entice little kids to run through them (clad or unclad)? You know how they make you feel happy in either a peaceful kind of way or in a ‘yippee it’s a party’ kind of way?
I’ve been thinking about this for off and on for a while now. My posts “Place” and “Gonna Take a Sacramental Journey” back in April reflected on how certain environments and elements awaken in us a deeper connection with our spiritual self. And just as certain religious rituals provide sustenance for the soul (my grandmother was nourished by the food of daily holy communion for years), the sight, sounds, and sometime scents of moving water always brings me back to myself.
I hear the continual but varied splashing of water against stone and it calls to me from an open window. My simple little wheel of a fountain blends into the landscape like a miniature grist mill’s stone. Tucked into a shady corner of rambling pink rose bushes and low-lying Vinca (the prolific green ground cover with bright purple flowers), it is your ear that first finds it. I love to hear the sound and even from an upstairs window, I can almost feel it. And it’s not just fountains either….it’s water than moves continually and evenly uneven, rhythms as varied as our own breath.
I recall spring and summer days as a small child where I would spend an hour in the late afternoon with nothing but a twig as my paintbrush and I would pull stones up out of the water’s bed, sit by the gurgling brook in the woods behind our house letting them dry, and then “painting them with water again” to watch the colors change. The coolness of that busy brook emanated right up to the mossy patch from where I took my respite, sometimes for a moment so tiny I would only catch it when a breeze sent it to me.
My current front yard fountain and my old back yard brook shared similar sounds of quiet tinkling. I am grateful for their offerings.
Then, there are the ones that are “OH, WOW”. I have had the great blessings to have seen, felt, heard, and yes, even smelled, the many incredible ancient and modern fountains that dot all of Italy, especially Rome. The Trevi Fountain with its awe-inspiring statues and the pool filled with coins from luck hopeful tourists is heart lifting joy. For me, these fountains, each more beautiful than the next, was like my children on their visit to Disney World. They ran from one exhibit to the next…”Hey, Mom, look at this! Hey, Mom, come over here quick, look at this!”
So on this last day of July, for us here in New England perfect bliss, you’ll find me near the water, listening.