Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nature's stamp of approval

 Beautiful stained glass lobby window portraying the Alamo

Last week Farmer Rick and I had the pleasure of attending the largest music educator conference in San Antonio, Texas and hearing the Swingle Singers perform. I remember hearing them on the radio when I was growing up in the 1960's, and was delighted to know the a capella vocal octet--now with much younger members--was still around.

Their performance was probably one of the top one’s we’ve ever heard (and we’ve been to a lot of concerts). If you want to hear what eight people can do with their voices (including making all the instrument and percussion sounds in addition to complex harmony) check out this music video.

As usual, we stayed at one of the participating conference hotels downtown, which are usually nice but generic. We had no idea the one we were booked at had formerly been the opulent Alamo National Bank.

 Every inch of the building had elegant detail seldom seen in architecture today

It was 25 degrees which is very unusual for this city. Sadly, many of the mature tropical landscape plants along the Riverwalk had been killed by the extended Arctic temperatures.

The Flowerweaver bundled up!

During one of the business meetings I decided to escape to photograph the Convention Center’s plaza—one of my favorite landscapes created by humans—to share with you. It connects up with the famous Riverwalk.

Not only is it a delight to the eye, and a pleasure to experience with all the gurgling and rushing sounds of water, but the attention to detail and craftsmanship is incredible.

Entrance to the plaza

You see, all these ‘rocks’ are hollow concrete forms that perfectly mimic the limestone—both the solid bedrock and the permeable conglomerate—of the Texas Hill Country where we live. It’s like faux bois only faux stone.

 Human-made creek of faux stone in the plaza

 Whoever designed and created this has spent a lot of time in the area where we live!

 Plaza waterfall--click to biggify!

This time I discovered two white egrets hanging out there! (If I hadn’t seen them land I might have thought they were faux birds). That says a lot when you can design something so natural as to attract this kind of wildlife to a Convention Center.

Egrets at home in this urban landscape...

unfazed by the passing river taxis

Looking back at the Convention Center

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all cities had public spaces this close to Nature?


Jennifer said...

I would be nice if all cities had that. Beautiful pictures and music.

NitWit1 said...

I loved the tour of a city I have visited many times when I lived in Texas.

The City is very proud of its heritage and protects its environment as its historical heritage.

Jill said...

Did you get to see the grotto that Carlos Cortes did on the Riverwalk? He also did a palapa. I would love to see that! Beautiful music and beautiful scenery!

Dana and Daisy said...

i never knew those stones were actually concrete forms. I'm sad to hear bout the tropical plantings not surviving this strange winter! And lastly, the photo of the stained glass made me think if weaving.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin