A Secret Grave 175: Barton Springs Dreamin’


Get out? Where would they go? Janet had not yet begun looking for a job. She spent her days working in the garden – a new thing for her – and exploring Austin. She had discovered Barton Springs, an outdoor pool fed by local spring water situated in a beautiful park in the middle of the city, and went there every day to swim. If she went early enough, before the heat became oppressive, she could ride her bike, and that became her routine – biking to the springs at 8 a.m., plunging into the sixty-eight degree water, drying in the early morning sun, doing a little yoga, her muscles warm and relaxed.


Barton Springs dreamin'

Barton Springs Pool (2011 Polar Bear Splash @ Barton Springs Pool,Randall Chancellor, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)


She met quite a few people at the springs, early morning swimmers who shared advice about the best acupuncturists in town, the best places to go for sushi or Vietnamese, the best hair stylists, second hand clothes stores, outdoor markets, music venues. She learned who to buy pot from and where to go for a really good tattoo. One day, when her back was out, she was introduced to a chiropractor, among the swimmers, who adjusted her then and there. She made friends with a girl who read Tarot cards who told her there was upheaval in her life and now was the time for quiet contemplation. She learned about ecstatic dance from another swimmer and began to go to dances around town, among them the Sunday morning dance I attended in a clubhouse on Dawson Road. You cannot imagine my surprise when I saw her there, in a black leotard with a fringed shawl wrapped around her hips. She quickly made connections with other people in the group and became a regular, dancing slow and sinuously, wild and fast, introducing herself as “Grateful Janet” in the circle afterwards. Oh my. This is all to say that Janet adjusted very well to life in Austin and had absolutely zero desire to leave her cushy setup at Victor’s old house.



Ecstatic Dance, Ben Chun, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/


She was happy there. She’d put in tomato plants, zucchini, carrots, radishes, peppers, lettuces and squash. She loved her bedroom, the way the light filtered through the windows, the sight of her dog chasing squirrels in the backyard. She loved chit-chatting with her neighbors, a lesbian couple who lived in one of the soulless houses next door. She loved the delicious smells that emanated from the kitchen when Donny braised meat for a stew. She loved their life together, the easy routine they’d developed of sitting around after a meal, watching tv, reading the Sunday papers, sharing a joint. (Neither of them drank; in fact, they were both in AA.) She loved riding through the neighborhood on Donny’s motorcycle that he kept in the same top gleaming condition as his knives. This was a place she could live in quiet contemplation as the tarot lady had instructed her to do, and she was damned if she was going to leave it. But then, as the summer heat was becoming unbearable and she was spending more and more of the day dozing in her cool bedroom, things changed abruptly, starting with a loud knock on the door.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ http://www.judypaul.com/studio/work/view/bartonsprings

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