Monday, November 14, 2011

Urban Spring


This is one of these long fountain arrangements that grace public buildings these days, but it was windy and it made a good shot difficult. The fountain is near the top of Leeson Street in Dublin and you have to wander through the gates of the office to access the water. Every so often a gust would shape the water and make it dance, so I tried a few shots of which this is the nicest. I got wet into the bargain so I hope it was worth it! A fountain is always a spring in symbolic terms. It's a symbol for purity and the water that emerges is held to be basic cosmic matter, without which life would be impossible. Springs are also symbols of motherhood and in some cultures, fishing in springs is forbidden - as is the cutting of any trees that border them. I've talked about springs before so I won't labour the point about drinking from the spring of immortality. Nor did I feel like drinking from this one. Nonetheless, when they are in a built setting, fountains are central to the idea of an earthly paradise - no more so than in the Arab world, where sacred formal gardens are stunning. These usually take the form of square courtyards with a circular fountain in the middle. The cult of fountains as a place of healing is common throughout the Celtic World, but especially in Brittany at the Fontaine de Barenton. I haven't even begun to discuss springs and the Orphic fragment that fascinates psychoanalysts. I'll leave that for another occasion.