Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Dreams are Worthy

Water spouting from one of the horse gargoyles at Scottsdale's "Water Mark"

I was standing in the rain looking up at water pouring from the mouth of a 14 foot tall aluminum horse gargoyle, soaked to my skin, and would have been chilled and shivering except for the core warmth I had generated from cycling about ten miles through a flash flood zone to see said gargoyle in a floodtime, and the questions running through my head were not simple ones to answer: what is art, and what dreams are worthy?

After a long time, some questions answered, more asked

I grew up when the race to the moon was in full swing, and images of rockets and men with the right stuff to fly up there and walk around were the seeds of my young dreams. To become an astronaut, to fly through space, to walk on the moon, these were my great dreams, shared by many others, unrealized by most. A great dream which has been accomplished by a total of 12 people, out of the billions who have lived, may be great, but is not one that I, or the other billions, are very likely to realize.

Fog, and bare trees, and falling water in Arizona, in January, a dream-like setting in itself

I also rode my bicycle over to Indian Bend Wash on March 16, 2010, to check out the progress of the installation of these horse gargoyles. From the start, being of a curious and inquisitive mindset, I wondered what they would look like, and sound like, with water coming out of their mouths. But, according to their design, they only do that when it rains and the wash floods, making it a somewhat rare and unpredictable occurrence. Like rain in the desert. Which, initially, took on the dimensions of wanting to get closure for the first blog post, then slowly grew into an arrow to be added to my OCD quiver, and eventually, through several unsuccessful (at least in terms of seeing water spouting from horse mouths) bike rides out here, assumed the dimensions of either an obsession or a dream nearly three years in the making.

Wait, seriously? Water spouting from the mouths of horse statues? You call that a dream?

You can begin to get a sense of those dimensions by taking a look at posts labelled aluminum horsemen of the deluge, although there were some visits which I left out, including one at 3am and another by car, both in the rain, both unsuccessful, in order to try to avoid the very real possibility that I was a little too concerned or attached to the notion that someday, I would actually get to see the horses spouting water. Indeed, the ride to capture these pictures almost didn't happen, out of fear of failure, concern with excessive focus on horse spouting, questioning the point of a clinging over time to a wish of no obvious value.

But, given that I added links over there on the right in the "Safety, Helmets, Maps, Information" section to both "Stream Gage Current Flows" and "IBW Flood Information" in order to have a ready reference to check the sensors which report how much water is flowing in the Indian Bend Wash, it would be a suggestion that I would be hard-pressed to deny. I basically had a dream to see the horses spouting water, and I think it's quite natural to ask, "what kind of dream is that?" Compared to, say, walking on the moon?

But let us also face certain facts: cling to it for three years I did, and I did feel excitement and anticipation for finally realizing it. So, on the other hand, let's not lapse into denial, let's embrace truth and go for a bike ride in the rain one more time!

Some dreams are colder and wetter than others

A friend once told me that her dream was to own and drive a red Ford Mustang. It just so happened that she already did own and drive a red Ford Mustang. So, comparing that with "great dreams" like walking on the moon, I think I laughed at her a little bit. I judged her dream, and her achievement of her dream, as somehow unworthy, too small, not dreamy enough.

Wait, seriously? Driving a red Ford Mustang that you already own? You call that a dream?

Standing there beneath the spouting horse shower, though, getting colder and worrying about my non-waterproof camera probably more than I should have, I was struck very strongly by the realization of the error I had made, and was continuing to make. It was rather shallow and cruel of me to judge the Mustang dream harshly. Likewise, it would be harsh for me to judge my own horse water spouting dream with the same ill treatment. A dream is a dream regardless of its scope or how it might look to someone else. And a dream realized, well, that's unusual enough and wonderful enough to require no further comment or additional evaluation at all.

Like, I think, good art. This happened and I was there. That makes it worthy.


  1. "This happened and I was there. That makes it worthy." Words to dream by.

    1. Thanks, Iron Rider. Sometimes it is better to stand in the cold falling water of a horse statue in the desert, rather than thinking too much about whether or not that would be a sensible thing to wish for.

  2. I was there on Sunday, too! Not riding like you, just walking, and I didn't get as good shots because I didn't want to ruin my shoes. As we drove away down Indian Bend, the horses were then spouting water. I'm glad you captured it so nicely. I linked to your post in my current post:

    1. It's funny you mentioned ruining shoes. I waded through some ankle-deep running water around Camelback and Hayden because I didn't see any way around. The older road and sidewalk facilities in that zone just go under when the water runs, compared to say the new pedestrian underpass tunnel by Chaparral, which was bone dry due to superior drainage and engineering. The result was that the cleat bolts on my shoes started to rust, which surprised me, and is not a common issue for me here. Not ruined exactly, but surprising. I really like that Dayvid LeMmon video on your post.


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