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!

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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.

Intolerance of the Intolerant

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If there’s one thing I cannot stand
Is when certain people must demand
That we alI think the way they think
Especially thoughts that just plain stink

Like telling me which books I can carry
Or who among us is allowed to marry
Or that I can hoard my ammunition
Because it says so in the Constitution

So I avoid their talk show stations
And declarations of their supreme nation
And their churches that tithe so well
While the rest of us will go to hell

But at the end of the day I must confess
That I myself am quite self-righteous
For I am committed to my own intolerance
Of those I label right wing Intolerants

Everything Beautiful In Its Time

OEcclesiastes is a good book in a Great Book. The author, presumed by most to be wise Solomon, tries to explain the meaning of life and includes a clear discussion of contrasts.  All good Sunday school children probably know Chapter 3 by heart.  I am not one of them because Catholic churches did not have Sunday school in my day.  We had to sit through Sunday Mass and behave . . . but that is another story.

Nevertheless, us old hippies remember Turn, turn, turn by The Byrds  – To everything, turn, turn, turn. Life is a series of seasons and contrasts. Weep and laugh.  Mourn and dance.  Keep and discard.  War and peace.

Church people use this wisdom to to teach us that, while our present time may suck, the next season will be better.  The old by-and-by sermon.

But I don’t think that’s what the writer meant because just a few lines later, he says that God indeed made everything beautiful in its time.  And God has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

In other words, all life seasons have beauty. We just don’t know how it all fits into the Big Scheme. We should just trust there is beauty in its time. Everything. In all seasons.

So, my friends, in this time of long dark nights, leafless trees, struggling flowers, mute birds, militant squirrels, treacherously icy roads and scratchy long underwear, look for beauty.  It may very well be time.

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All photos are from my backyard here in Trophy Club, Texas. I’d like to be a wee bit warmer, but this is beautiful, is it not?

Autumnus You Were Named

Autumnus you were named by the Ancient of Days.
Your smell is of earth in hospice.
Flesh and bones decay to promise renewal.
Your cold breath strips leaves whose time has come
and branches groan, It is time.  It is time.

You paint the earth with a pallet of blood tones.
You prepare the canvas for the white cloak of Winter.
We celebrate you with feasts and goblins.
You must forgive our childish prattle
and tolerate our simpleton gestures.

We call you Fall out of our ignorance.
Your pulse promises resurrection.
It is time.