Fountains in Prague

“I’m only good at being nice,” I spat back at a colleague as he tried to encourage me in a moment of self-doubt. “I’m only good at seeing, not creating; at understanding. Where is the value in that?”

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Water spouts from small metal spigots in a kind of celebration that has drawn garden designers and royalty for centuries. A small burst of cool and sparkly is the diamond for every bronze or stone setting, regardless of the period or realm in which they were built. Water is the focal point, the thing for which kings will kill.

But it’s just water.

“Yes,” said the scholar, “the thing that brings life. Like seeing. Like understanding.”

I stood beside this fountain at Queen Anne’s Summer Home for a long while, watching sunbeams dance through falling streams and droplets. There is nothing worse than a fountain stopped for the winter, than art without a soul. And though the artist is the master, someone must make it live.

Let it be me.

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