A Tale of Two Fountains
By M. Klopfenstein
“Be a fountain” Doug Coe
(Rejected opening line: It was the best of fountains, it was the worst of fountains…)
A very pleasant park ran along the highway. It had been built back when the
highway was barely a two-lane road. The park was nestled up against a hillside across
from the old mill. Aside from the trees, the stone benches, and an expanse of grass, the
singular most interesting feature of this park was the fountain. It was not in the center of
the park or at a convergence of the paths that wondered among the trees. No, this
fountain was along the road.
The fountain had been built in the early in the early days of the industrial
revolution, as a watering spot for those who worked at the mill. It also served the horses
that pulled wagons to and from the mill and later those new horseless carriage
contraptions that popped and sputtered their way along the narrow road. Everyone
always found refreshment at the fountain and the small pool that surrounded it.
There was nothing remarkable about fountain. It was simply a fountain. The
central fount pointed skyward reaching only a few feet into the air shooting a shaft water
surging upward and being bathed in the cascade as that water returned to earth against its
own unending flow. Three bronze spigots reached out from halfway up the base within
easy reach of anyone who reached in to fill a cup, bucket, or tin can with refreshment.
All this was contained within a low wall that contained the small pool and served as a
bench for those in need of rest and refreshment.
The men who had built the fountain connected it to a year round spring up on the
mountain and had buried the pipes deep below the mountain frost so it flowed even in the
wintertime with water, clear, cool, and refreshing. The men who maintained the fountain
did there job with joy and contentment because their grandfathers or their friends
grandfathers had built it. They often took a drink from its flowing spigots as they cleaned
the leaves from the small pool and picked up candy wrappers left by the kids who paused
for a drink, riding bikes home from school. At night, the park was mostly dark so little
animals would come down and drink from the pool. Even in the darkness, the water
flowed and there was life around the water.
Across the road was the mill. It had been main employer for the town. In fact to
discuss the origins of the town without including the mill or the mill without the town
would be absurd, their stories were that intertwined. (However, this is not a story about
the mill or the town it is instead a tale of two fountains.)
The second fountain in our story was in front of the old mill, which was now
called “Old Mill Factory Outlet Mall”, and it was a magnificent fountain. The Mall and
its many stores now filled the old mill and its many outbuildings. This fountain was the
showpiece of the mall. Around the scalloped rim of the fountain’s lagoon, over four
dozen nozzles that could criss-cross the shimmering pool with spray, streams or fog as
required. In the center of the lagoon was another two dozen more adjustable nozzles,
which could shoot upward, and outward arranged in concentric rings that could not only
rotate but counter rotate as well. They would weave a watery basket in the air. At night,
colored lights and lasers danced across the undulating streams of the fountain and whole
thing was choreographed to music pumped in from hidden speakers in planters and on
rooftops. The heart of this fountain was not a clear mountain spring but an electronic
valve and pump unit connected to a computer. Safe and secure in a nearby planter the
computer ran the show, hidden within a waterproof, vandal-proof box.
The fountain sat in the middle of a system of broad concrete walkways designed
to guide the thousands of shoppers to the mall. The water from this incredible showpiece
was in fact undrinkable. Its water was full of chemicals to prevent stagnation because it
did not flow from or to anywhere. Those who had programmed the fountain’s computer
had moved on to build other fountains at other malls. Those who added water as it
evaporated and checked the level of the chemicals were merely caretakers. At night, after
the shoppers had gone home the lights, the pumps, the music, the whole thing shut down
except for the security lighting. A guard kept watch over the fountain and the grounds to
keep vagrants off and to prevent kids from putting detergent in the water.
Be a fountain! Choose your purpose and most importantly your source connection.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water
will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this
way, just as the Scripture says.”
Jesus (John 7: 37-38)
“Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone
who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give
will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
Jesus (John 4:13-14)