winterway fountain

Fountain along the Winterway . . . The Alps.

There is an ancient tradition of wayside fountains in the
European Alps. For me, these are the real 'stations' of
a pilgrim's journey. Unlike the religious icons placed
by the colonial powers from Rome  -- which appeared
very much later  -- water as it flows here, -- clean, cool
and pure, was and is the offering of offerings. Like
the best of poetry, it seems to give and keep giving, and
yet ask nothing in return.

This fountain articulates an important turn in a mountain
path, a path which I over the years have had an opportunity
to get to know very well. The water flows constant throughout
the year, and I've never seen it freeze. I recall the moment
when I first noticed that the water flowed as silently as
it did motionlessly. It was snowing, not heavily and without
wind. It was the beginning of January. I was on skis,
going up the trail to a small village, still an hour or so
away. There were no cars. I repeat: there were no cars.
Only unbroken snow. The memory of that sound is
still fresh within me, still unbroken. Like a little poem one
learned by heart years ago, one can never quite decide which
is best: the moment one first encountered it, or the thought
of the next time one calls on it again.


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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2002