The Liquid Canvas of the Fort Worth Water Gardens

Amid a major convention center, hotels, office buildings and parking garages is an anomalous yet fitting contrast to concrete and asphalt.  The Fort Worth Water Gardens is indeed an oasis. sited to intersperse business and art, active and passive, work and play.

This 4.3-acre urban park was dedicated to the City of Fort Worth by the Amon G. Carter Foundation in 1974.  Architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee juxtaposed three contrasting water canvasses woven together by tree-lined pathways. open grassy interludes and dramatic sculptures.  Collectively, the three water features engage our senses, challenge our boundaries and delight our souls.

The Active Pool is certainly no pool.  It is a series of angled waterfalls that form dizzying peaks and valleys.  Compounding this visual overload is the incessant roar of cascading water, rhythmic in tune to uneven steps and echoing in deep crevices. Brave visitors, like my husband Richard, take a broken path just a few inches above the flowing water.

Chasm!

Chasm!

City waterfall

Urban Waterfall

Brave Richard!

Brave Richard!

Just a few steps away is the contrasting Meditation Pool.  Its still blue waters beckon you to calm your soul and reflect on the peaceful stillness.  Whispering water gently pours over pebbled walls fronted by bald cypress trees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meditation Pool

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reflections in Many Dimensions

Water Wall

Water Wall

The Aerating Pool is a delightful display of small water drops sprayed out of rows of illuminated fountains.  This hissing pool is liquid pointillism in constant motion – glimmering, dancing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aerating Pool

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hissing Waters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Liquid Pointillism

The non-water features are equally creative and fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Buttress Roots, or Knees, of Bald Cypress Trees Around Meditation Pool

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Liquid Perspective

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re anywhere near the southern portion of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is definitely a worthwhile day trip!

A Bit of Serendipity in Fort Worth

Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole

About 260 years ago, the word “serendipity” was coined by Horace Walpole. the 4th Earl of Oxford, and an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician. He based his new word on a Persian play The Three Princes of Serendip, which is an old name for Sri Lanka.  Walpole said that the play’s heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

Last Wednesday, Richard and I experienced this serendipity, this fortunate happenstance.  What started out as an excursion to the Fort Worth Water Gardens turned out to be a wondrous day of delight and surprises.

This was our first visit to the Fort Worth Water Gardens.  It will not be our last.  This public park elicits a cornucopia of emotions – wonder, scary (for me, not Richard), peacefulness, and appreciation for creativity – all within 4.3 acres next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. *

Richard in the loud and scary Active Pool.  He is fearless

Richard in the loud and scary Active Pool. He is fearless!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Peaceful Meditation Pool

Whimsical Aerating Pool

Whimsical Aerating Pool

Interspersing these water features were bold sculptures, treed and pleasant landscaping and creative concrete walkways and features. *

It was lunchtime when we were done exploring, so we headed for the nearby Sundance Square and its environs for their many restaurants.  We came across Del Frisco’s Grille, which seemed cool and comfortable.  Its menu offered a wide range of lunch possibilities.  On all counts, Del Frisco’s did not disappoint.DelFrisco

I devoured my cheeseburger (hold the cheese, please) and fries, and washed it down with a glass of chardonnay.

I was ready for a nap, but we decided to do a quick trip for the nearest Central Market for dinner pasta sauce fixings. And thus we encountered yet another pleasant surprise.

Looming over Fort Worth Central Market is the Marty Leonard Community Chapel. Richard, an architect, was excited about this iconic chapel designed by renowned architect Fay Jones.  We spent an hour in this exquisite find and had an opportunity to learn more about this special place from Charlie who had an office below the chapel.*

The entrance to Marty Leonard Chapel

The entrance to Marty Leonard Community Chapel

This interfaith chapel is part of the Lena Pope Home campus.  In 1930, Lena Hope started this sprawling campus for children in need as a tribute to her young son who died of diphtheria.  Marty Leonard is a long-time supporter and board member of the Lena Pope Home, and for her 50th birthday, her family and friends presented her with a rendering and partial funds for construction of this chapel.  The chapel was completed in 1990 and is a popular venue for weddings.

Eventually, we did get to the adjacent Central Market for dinner fixings.  We headed home via a congested, dusty and smoggy Hwy 35W that is perpetually under construction. There were no serendipity moments there!

Notwithstanding the home bound traffic, this was truly a day of serendipity and the kaleidoscope of discoveries continue to make me smile.

* I will devote future entries to photo essays of the Fort Worth Water Gardens and the Marty Leonard Chapel.