A few weeks ago one of our students dug out and cleaned our old solar-powered fount, and installed it in our birdbath. It now sits on the lawn, in a strategic spot providing the maximum amount of exposure to the sun, so that on sunny days it splashes merrily, each droplet iridescent with sunlight. On less than sunny days, as clouds drift and cast sudden shadows, the fountain stops and starts, or spurts at half-mast, showing how much it is dependent on sunshine to keep it going.
But it also depends on having enough water. Even though it rained heavily only two days ago, this afternoon I noticed that the birdbath was almost empty, and the fountain, though bathed in sunlight and therefore still working, was labouring to produce a meagre, barely discernible trickle of water. In the absence of imminent rain it needed instant topping up if it was to be restored to its full liquid glory.
There was some bemusement and raised eyebrows when I told a couple of people that I was off to water the fountain - followed by speculation about what could have caused the empty birdbath. Thirsty birds would only have accounted for some of it; playful splashes and gusts of wind for a bit more, with the drying effects of today's strong sunlight mopping up what was left. No single culprit mighty enough to desiccate a birdbath which would have been full yesterday morning, but the accumulation of several small things, each capable of depleting at least some resources.
As I watered the fountain and watched it gurgle and almost instantly splash back into life I thought about the many small things which can deplete my inner resources: the busyness instead of stillness; the spiritual books read in fits and starts instead of with proper attention; the many little ways in which I can choose something which doesn't feed my soul or help me grow. Watching the water catch and play with the sunlight I reminded myself, yet again, of the need to keep my own inner well constantly topped up...
And you, dear reader, how do you water your fountain...?