By Jim McCloskey
I have a couple things to point out about the newsletter surrounding this blog:
[ ] This edition includes the introductory text for – and a link to – the twenty-first and final video in Eric Triplett’s amazing “PondCraft 101” series.
Eric originally prepared these videos as a means of letting interested consumers know what’s involved in designing and installing a small backyard pond. His unstated point is that even do-it-yourselfers need good guidance; he’s also aware that not-so-driven consumers might be persuaded to call a professional once he’s shown them how much truly hard work goes into getting things right.
He knows in addition – as we all should – that it’s preferable and far easier to work with well-informed clients who know something about what they’re getting into and what to expect rather than with ill-informed ones who don’t see what’s coming or know any of the right questions to ask.
When I contacted him about organizing these videos for WaterShapes EXTRA, it was clear that we both wanted to take the videos from their primary role in consumer education and, through Eric’s text introductions, define ways in which they were relevant to professional viewers as well, either as a refresher course or for staff training and development. It was a great pleasure assisting in this important expansion of purpose, and we appreciate Eric’s guidance in defining coverage that ranged well beyond raising the awareness of pond-hungry civilians.
[ ] In what I consider to be a wonderful handoff, this edition also opens a new series of “Technical Briefings,” this one courtesy of Rick Anderson, a pond designer and installer who offers what I considered calling PondCraft 301 or even 401 if “Technical Briefings” didn’t make more sense to me. In a handful of articles we’ll publish through the next several months, he offers a true master class in the fine points of pond, stream and waterfall design and installation that moves well beyond Mr. Triplett’s video series.
Rick was among the first pond-side watershapers we worked with back when the magazine started in 1999. A robust mountain of a man who speaks of rocks and boulders as if they extensions of his physical frame, Rick participated in the roundtable discussion I moderated after the conclusion of The Whispering Crane Institute’s conference in the fall of 1999 (click here). I have credited him ever since with having fully opened my eyes to the potential there was for great beauty and sensitivity in manmade approximations of nature.
[ ] It’s tough to get my arms around it, but this newsletter also includes the first of the “WaterShapes Classics” entries in the 15-Years-Ago category. (Of course, had I been paying close enough attention to the basic math of WaterShapes’ history, I might have started revisiting 1999’s possibilities as early as February of this year.)
Suffice it to say that it’s remarkable to witness the turning of the years and process yet another significant reminder that time flies when you’re having fun.
I wrote with wonder last July about the University of Alabama’s decision to add a waterfall to its football team’s locker room, and I have to say that it still makes no sense to me that they would add a calming, relaxation-inducing feature to a space where the usual intention is to fire young men up to heightened states of physical aggression. Doesn’t this seem rather counterproductive?
Now I read that Ohio State’s football program is following suit, adding a waterfall of its own to facilities and a football program made famous by the soothing voice and overflowing tenderness of Woody Hayes.
As a Pac 12 guy, I don’t really have a horse in the race. I note, however, that while Alabama did quite well last season, its rush toward another national championship fell short of the mark. I don’t want to discourage Ohio State’s foray into creative watershaping, but maybe they should imitate some of the less relaxation-inducing parts of the Crimson Tide’s pathway to victory?