In my May 25 article, "The Blue Hole: a Center City Hidden Gem," I noted that the Blue Hole remained dry despite official proclamations that declared the drought over. Since th San Antonio has benefited from a significant rainy spell and last week Helen Ballew, director of Headwaters at Incarnate Word, wrote that the Blue Hole began flowing again.
Buoyed by Helen’s comments, I ventured out to experience the marvel of the reemergence of the Mother Spring. Even though I have lived in San Antonio for almost 38 years and visited the University of the Incarnate Word numerous times (to see the Christmas Lights and attend athletic events) I never wandered the few extra yards needed to see one of San Antonio’s marvels until my May story. Then, the Blue Hole was merely a damp spot on the campus. Now might be the last time the spring flows for many years and I didn’t want to miss another chance to check it off my San Antonio Bucket List. My minimal effort was rewarded when I saw water bubbling out of the ground.
It was hot and muggy when I arrived at the Blue Hole after a casual morning at the Pearl Farmers Market shooting photos for Humans of Texas. Nestled under a clump of trees the Blue Hole stands out because the manmade walls are needed to keep the spring from eroding the surrounding land and allow safe access. I chatted with a few international visitors and told them of the historic significance of the spring.
After I left them I walked along the banks of the San Antonio River just downstream from the well and imagined what the indigenous natives or early Spanish settlers might have experienced. Under the trees and along the river bank the air was cool and delightfully peaceful. To my delight only the ripple of water could be heard, a pleasant reminder of the peaceful benefits an isolated locale can provide. I might have stayed and chucked stones into the river just to hear the splash on the pristine water if I wasn’t pressed for time. I was awed by my short visit to the Blue Hole and will make another trip soon, prepared for a longer walk or least allow time just to sit back enjoy the quiet.
The Blue Hole flows when Nature’s natural cycle of abundant rain raises the Edwards Aquifer level. The long range weather forecast suggests the return of our usual hot and dry summer followed by a wetter than usual fall because of El Niño. I encourage others to visit the Blue Hole before the inevitable dry times return and the sight of fresh, clean water flowing from the well becomes a memory. Given the random occurrence of rain in South Texas – like Tuesday's downpour –my instinct tells me that this moment of joy may be short-lived.
*Featured/top image: Water in the Blue Hole sparkles with reflections of the sky. Photo by Warren Lieberman.