Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kubla Khan OR, A VISION IN A DREAM. A FRAGMENT. by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:

And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight 'twould win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Some people think Coleridge was inspired by William Bartram's descriptions of Florida's mighty fountains, our own beautiful freshwater springs. The photo, above, is the head spring at Ichtetucknee. Click on the image for a larger view!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Would You Do?

What would you do if someone told you that you lived in the middle of the largest concentration of freshwater springs on planet Earth? Over 900* springs in all?

And that some of those springs had already ceased to flow?

And that others—springs widely recognized as the area's gems and state's treasures—had lost 20% or 30% of their flows?

Because too many people watered too many lawns? Too many businesses failed to use best management practices? Too many governments, businesses, agribusinesses, and individuals failed to conserve water and return treated water to the aquifer?

What would you do if you knew that one day, Silver Springs might not exist? Ichetucknee Springs? Wekiva? Wakulla?

What would you do if you knew that we only had 3 years to make a difference, or we might lose our springs forever?

What would you do?

*Thanks to Dr. Bob Knight of the Florida Springs Institute for this updated figure for Florida's freshwater springs.

The image above is of the head springs at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Click on the image for a better view.