With California still experiencing severe drought, I was shocked to see a new fountain–one gigantic teapot suspended in the air, pouring water incessantly–erected near a busy San Gabriel Valley intersection. I circled the block twice – it was a sight both disheartening and inscrutable. The two Chinese characters written on the teapot, 天壺, can be translated literally as heavenly teapot, or celestial teapot.
Any term that contains the Chinese character 天, or heavenly in English, should entail some epic-scale account of endeavor and triumph, for example, a mythical saga. Having predicted the string “heavenly teapot” in English would yield no meaningful search result, I accessed instead a popular Chinese search engine and was led to the fountain’s own Baidu page. Should I feel disappointed the structure was not inspired by a people’s prayer for rain that moved heaven and earth? This modern sculpture could only associate itself with some ancient passages that convey platitude, like how tea is poured ceaselessly and awaits friends to visit, like how anything bestowed by heaven, in this case water, not rain, is good fortune and must be treasured. Moreover, the new SoCal “heavenly teapot” I encountered is merely a non-exact replica of other commercial heavenly teapots, such as this attraction in Beijing, China.
What is more inscrutable is some netizens actually sought profound elucidation behind this crude creation. Were they curious about a fountain’s mechanical design, or about miraculous, supernatural phenomenon? Hopefully, it is not the latter.
During my latest visit to the Getty Center, whose garden is, very unfortunately, not drought-tolerant, all fountains were shut down to conserve water. A few months ago I called one city administrator to report its fire department’s massive usage of water to wash the fire truck. The drought is far from over.
That fountain is really awesome – but I know what you mean about being surprised about it due to the ongoing drought issues! Oh my!
Speaking of California…
In case you are looking for tix for the upcoming tea festival there The Sororitea Sisters are giving away a pair! http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/09/27/sf-international-tea-festival-ticket-giveaway/ we would love for you to swing by and enter or if you know of anyone else interested.
I really hope we start seeing more and more tea related statues and fountains, tho…that’s AWESOME!!!!
Thanks Jennifer. I have only been to tea festivals in Los Angeles, it’ll be nice to attend San Francisco’s on November 6th (http://www.sfitf.com/); unfortunately time and work do not allow… BTW, your website (http://sororiteasisters.com/) is nice and I will visit often.
Hmmm…well, what I’m wondering is how ‘drought response begats climate change’ potential? Once we let plants and trees especially, rather than lawns, die, do we initiate more of the same? There is a cycle and it seems to me that letting plants die will also stop the oxygenating and cooling/shade effect of plants and trees. Of course, that’s off topic from the fountain. I’ve seen, even in beach areas, trees and plants dying that have taken decades to grow to their proportions and have been beneficial to the climate and environment in many ways. If we trace a lot of this back, I have a feeling it’s not just drought, but money involved..much in the same way the oil ‘crises’ are engineered. Yes, we are in a drought unprecedented in a century. Yes, we can and should conserve water. But we cannot live without water and without vegetation. In some places in this country, the laws have made collecting rainwater illegal. http://bit.ly/1ePAnOh
Is that possible or merely an old law that doesn’t apply today? I agree that trees have vey beneficial properties, providing shade is one of them and should be watered to maintain their health. Decorative plantings however are a luxury we can no longer afford. That includes washing fire trucks I think!
The link is dated May 2016. Colorado has apparently lightened up. Right now there is severe flooding in some states. One reason Texas has such problem with flooding is that the land isn’t ‘prepared’ to hold the water when it comes. There is the big question of why climate change is happening and it really does seem to boil down to man…and traced back..to money. Look at the Amazon rain forest devastation.
It is recirculating water
Diane, exactly what had happened to my current residence’s front yard – it’s now a wasteland… Some of my neighbors continue to water their yards on a daily basis. The city and the water district monitor only halfheartedly. I was hoping to convert the entire area to desert landscaping, then different landscaping businesses provided drastically different opinions and options. It was all very confusing…
Ifang, we are still personally 20% or so under the water allotment (inland SoCal) where they start to raise the price and we have a beautiful yard with trees and shrubs, some grass in front only, it feels lush but it doesn’t take a lot of water. The trees are large and provide shade, which finds us out enjoying our back yard while none of the neighbors want to be out in their sunny yards. The birds, bees, lizards…all are busy and happy. Most people are sitting with one or two trees and a huge swimming pool they seldom use and glaring sunshine all day long. Yet now, people are letting these grass jungles die off and, since they didn’t plant drought tolerant but ‘lush’ it looks lousy in many neighborhoods, including even the LaJolla area, where we drove about a month ago and were shocked to see beautiful mature trees and shrubs being left to die along medians. Sigh.
I spent 4 years in La Jolla in the late 70’s going to graduate school. It is painful to hear that those amazing palms are dying. What a loss.
It wasn’t palm trees we noticed but median flowers, shrubs and even some large eucalyptus, which are drought tolerant, seemed to be looking poorly. Also, in yards in affluent areas like La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe, years’ old plants are dying. I wonder how many people are having swimming pools drained and covered? Kidding, of course.
Maybe this is not the appropriate forum – while working in the front yard this past weekend, my brother was harassed by a vicious neighbor who commented on how the City allowed residents to water their lawn TWICE a day, and how cheap water is. Our good intention (water conservation) is completely misunderstood by those who sense no urgency.
Unfortunately we don’t have trees; my dad made a big mistake getting rid of them many years ago.
It never ceases to amaze me that people don’t get it. There is a profound drought going on and yet people don’t have water conservation on their radar. So sorry to hear that your brother was affected by an ignorant neighbor.
I would be interested in learning how much water a recirculating water system actually uses. It does cool off the area but if evaporation bleeds too much into the usage, then I agree, it’s not appropriate at this time of drought. It seems that drought is destined to be a serious concern for the foreseeable future.
Michelle, I drove by the fountain a few days ago and was surprised to see it turn off. The temperature in the area surpasses 100 °F these few days. It would have been nice to sit at the adjacent cafe and watch the water pour and flow; on the other hand, issues like evaporation might be the cause that forced it to shut down.