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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Spring ForwardPosted Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 4:56 PM
For photo prints, go to www.stevenfoster.com/prints.html Photo by Steven Foster
Sometimes we don't have enough water. Sometimes we have too much water. Sometimes we have water in places where we wish it were not.
As we take time to celebrate the springs on June 8-10, we are reminded of water and how we take it for granted, like the air we breathe.
The chicken and the egg conundrum is easily solved in Eureka Springs. First came the springs, then came the people. The springs are the reason we are here.
Recently I drove to Jonesboro and went about 35 miles out of my way for a quick visit to Mammoth Springs, which was touted as the 10th largest spring in the world, with a flow of 9 million gallons an hour creating the Spring River.
I did a Google search to find out where the other nine larger springs are found. It turns out the criteria used to develop such a list just doesn't seem to exist on the internet. In fact the designations of biggest this, longest that, deepest, highest, hottest, coldest seem to flow like water, mostly from the pens of marketers of a particular region or area.
A first magnitude spring, I learned, has a flow rate of greater than 100 cubic feet per second, which is beyond my fading gray matter algorithms to translate into gallons per hour. Where do Eureka's springs stack up in the comparative measurement?
Certainly Blue Spring, at 38 million gallons a day, is Eureka Springs' first spring of magnitude. If measured by beauty of lands surrounding springs, our Spring Street springs certainly earn a first magnitude by any measure.
"Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is in the northwestern part of Arkansas, on the crest of the Ozarks, two thousand feet above the sea. Pine forest, beautiful scenery, floods of sunshine, air that has health in every breath, and water that wins the heart of every visitor," wrote C.F. Ellis, M.D. in a paper in the Tri-State Medical Journal and Practitioner in 1898.
As we "move the springs forward" in the 21st century, it's useful to look back to how things once were. Our measure of spring magnitude will be what we leave for future generations.
Steven Foster is a world renowned botanical photographer. He has published many books, including 2 for National Geographic
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