Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DOCTORING THE BUDDHA

The Buddha has been acting up recently. The one in the garden, I mean. The fountain...


We have had it for years without problems, but recently--well, a few months ago--it started losing water faster than could be accounted for by splash or evaporation. The fountain is built in two parts: the basin, which catches the water and returns it to the top, via a pump hidden behind, where it emerges again from a lotus and spills down over the upper part, which is Buddha's face. It looks a bit like he's weeping for the suffering of the world. The problem, I discovered through prolonged observation, was that the water had discovered a path along the seam between the two parts, and was disappearing out behind. Over several years, too, the weight of the water, combined with that of the fountain itself, had caused the whole thing to sink down and back, encouraging that wayward flow.

Having tried a variety of minor fixes and adjustments--ranging from museum wax to drilling holes to create alternative paths for the water--it came down to a matter of major surgery yesterday. I enlisted the help of my sturdy neighbor, Richard, and together we dismantled the whole thing, took the two parts down, and leveled out the base on which the fountain stands with bricks and gravel, tamping it down to avoid, if possible, any further sinkage. Then we restored the basin to its proper place, and Richard--who knows about these things--brought in some chemical guck from the hardware store, running a bead of the stuff along the troublesome joint, where it began to swell alarmingly like The Blob from Outer Space. (You can see better what it looks like here...


... where we used it to seal the deck to prevent the rains from flooding the area down below.)

The guck continued to expand even after we had replaced the Buddha himself, creating what we hope will prove to be an effective seal to contain the water and block its route to the rear. Just to be sure, however, we used more of the stuff to block off the rear conduits for the flow, thus...



... directing the water away from the rear. We hope to be able to carve it down to a less unsightly shape today.

I have a twinge of guilt about having used such anti-natural stuff on the Buddha--and indeed in the garden. God knows what damage to the environment was caused in simply producing, containing and propelling it, but I can be reasonably sure that, like much of the stuff we use in our daily lives, it was of no benefit to the planet. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

Let's hope it works. And that we haven't given the Buddha more to weep about.

5 comments:

WITTY WALKERS said...

Happy to see that you acknowledge God knows what-s going on!
Michael

mandt said...

For a moment there, we thought it was going to be a parinirvana.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think that with so many major atrocities going on in the world, the Buddha will hardly notice some unnatural, ugly black guck around his nether regions.

Sofan said...

The Buddha looks nice on your garden. :)

Romany said...

My mother, now deceased, had a Buddha in her Sedona garden that was struck by lightening at the point of the top of Buddha's head. He was even better after that.