I’m tardy with this post. A first in 16 months of blogging. Here’s why:
This place, which I visited last week, left me gasping.
I’m still trying to catch my breath.
What is it, you ask?
It’s an old home. Not for people. For Houston’s drinking water.
That’s what the promotional materials for the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern read. But I see no water here, only transcendence.
My imagination fills in the blanks my mind creates: could this be the image of crossing over? Yes, to There.
Hardly what I expected during last week’s road trip. The cistern was only one more bullet point on my “Houston-to-Visit” list. DH’s trek to his home state offered an excuse. And Thursday tours are free at the cistern.
At the bottom of this large intake pipe gurgled a small but steady flow of water. It goes nowhere these days. Historical effect equals raw power. Who knew?
That yellow glow near the stair rail triggers first impressions. The down staircase echoes those step effects seen in the initial photo.
My mind surges with otherworldly imaginings: where are we descending to/climbing from? What is that light and where is it guiding us? This first water — does it offer anything to us today?
221 concrete pillars stretch the length and width of the space. Each pillar rises 25 feet high skyward.
Its last fill-up? Hurricane Harvey, two years ago. Accidentally. The waters rose 17 feet, reaching halfway up the guardrail that tops the cisterns’ sidewalls.
All the light is artificial, installed a decade ago when an irreparable leak forced decommissioning of this reservoir.
Instead of demolishing the space — as is Houston’s historic custom — someone somewhere offered: let’s save this, make it an art space. Two shows — one offering rain, the other light and video — will be followed in 2020 with a third, not yet chosen.
Everywhere around lay impressions: light and dark, above and below, stair steps and pathways. Water embracing it all.
Images offer symbols, all for later pondering and translation.
As with our dreams, personal interpretation heals best and deepest.
And that’s where our stories begin.