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not in his usual place. Once he had begun coming out in July, he would be at Barton’s every day until the first norther had struck. He was in the habit of sitting on a rock down by the big spring that comes out of the fissure in the limestone. Just behind this rock was a small sycamore tree that had managed to get a start and hold on by thrusting its roots between the layers of stone. Mr. Bedichek did not sit under the tree for shade. It was the sun that he wanted, and he got plenty of it directly as it slanted to the west and indirectly as its rays were reflected from the water. When he had had enough he had to take but a few steps in shallow water to enter what he called the `bathtub,’ a spot about two feet deep just where the cold water rushes out through the fault. He had a special way of getting into the bathtub, which is overhung by the slanting fault face on one side and bounded on the other by sharp rocks under the water. He would stand with the overhang on his right and then let himself fall backwards into the spring. I have seen him do this many times, but whenever I tried to do it myself, I grazed the rocks on the way down. He would sit in the spring and throw a double handful of water over his head, each time exclaiming, ‘Woof! woof!’ This ‘woof, woof was a part of the ceremony. During July and August from 3:30 until 5:30 every day Mr. Bedichek would sit on his rock and talk to his friends. When he felt himself getting too hot he would interrupt the conversation for a quick dip in the bathtub. In a big flood of two years ago the sycamore tree was snapped off. Its upper branches became filled with driftwood and the force of the water was too much for it. Mr. Bedichek had hopes that the tree would grow out again, and it has sent out new shoots. He thought that if all the shoots but one were trimmed away, the tree might make a comeback. Once I said to him, ‘Mr. Bedichek, when you and I are dead and gone, this rock will still be thought of as Bedichek’s rock.’ Everyone seemed to regard the rock as his, and only a stranger would take his place while he was cooling in the bathtub. In ‘King Lear’ there is an allusion to an old rhyme. `Pillicock sat on Pillicock hill.’ Taking a hint from this, I made up a couplet for Mr. Bedichek’s amusement. Bedichek sat on Bedichek’s rock, The water was cold but Bedi was hot. One of the most regular visitors to Bedichek’s rock was Mr. Dobie. He did not alternate between the rock and the bathtub; he had his own way of cooling off. He would swim around in the deep water until he felt chilled; then he would go up on the hot cement and lie down. He said the heat of the sun above and of the cement below would drive the cold deep down into his bones. In the course of an afternoon ten or fifteen of Mr. Bedichek’s friends might come over at different times for a chat. If there ever was such a thing as a literary salon in Austin, its location was Bedichek’s rock. This is not to say, though, that the conversation was limited to literary matters; it ranged far and wide, for Mr. Bedichek was ready to talk to anybody about anything. He had a very large store of information on a great variety of topics and he was willing to acquire more by listening. Every day Virginia Conkle would swim up to Bedichek’s rock and sit there awhile. Fred Thompson would always come out too, though he was sometimes rather late. One summer Mary Lasswell was on hand every day. It would not be possible for me to name all those who counted on a visit with Mr. Bedichek at Barton’s, because I do not know all of them. Judge James Hart and his wife, old friends of Mr. Bedichek’s who were in the University when he was, had a habit of swimming every day too. Mrs. Hart liked to cool off in the bathtub; I have heard her say jokingly, ‘I wish Mr. Bedichek would get out of the bathtub so that I could use it.’ On his visits from Houston George Fuermann always knew where to find Mr. Bedichek and Mr. Dobie. Almost every afternoon someone was sure to ask Mr. Bedichek a question about birds. ‘I saw a bird the other day that I’ve never seen before. It was smaller than a redbird and larger than a wren. It was gray all over and had a topknot. What was it?’ Then Mr. Bedichek would consider all the possibilities and arrive at what he thought the best answer. ‘The only small graybacked bird with a crest is a titmouse. Yes, it must have been a titmouse.” So he told me on that last afternoon.” In accordance with the customs those years, blacks were barred from Barton’s. About 1961, I believe it was, my wife then, Jean Williams Dugger, our son, Gary, Azie Taylor, a black then working with the state labor office who later became Treasurer of the United States, out there to integrate the place. The attendants said they would call the police. I suggested they call the mayor, Tom Miller, too. Apparently they did; John Henry Faulk happened to be with him at the time, and Faulk tells a wild story about Miller’s apopletic reaction. As we swam around on the north side of the pool, Mrs. Hamilton Lowe swam across to us from the area of Bedichek’s Rock and, saying nothing about what was happening, talked with us a long time. The police did not come. FOR THE LAST TEN or fifteen years environmentalists have been opposing the extensive urban development on the Barton Creek watershed west of and upstream from the springs, but the city has permitted the developers to go ahead: Horseshoe Bend subdivision, the Barton Creek shopping mall, the Barton Hills subdivision, and so on. Last summer, swimming at Barton’s, I noticed that when the wind was blowing upereek \(from the east and the direction of the Colorado, into which Barton’s feces swept across the surface of the pool. As you swam along it hit you in the face. After the Feb. 4 story I swam at Barton’s a couple of times, and once, emerging from the pool across the springs, I caught a faint smell of sulphur. It was last summer, Dr. McReynolds says, when the city’s environmental people first realized that the springs themselves can be polluted by runoff. An independent hydrologist had told the city this was “absolutely impossible,” she said. Some construction going on upsteam in the creekbed was roiling up the creek and making it turbid. The creek disappears underground at the Balcones Fault and re-emerges to form the pool at Barton Springs. This time it was re-emerging with the same-colored silt in it that was being roiled up at the construction site. “That was the first time we realized,” she says, “that pollution could flow down through the aquifer and into the springs.” Could it be that the leaking sewer line or septic tank accounts for all the pollution in the springs? No, Dr. McReynolds responded; after a rain, she thinks, the pollution comes from both urban runoff and the source of the leak. Why in the devil didn’t the city planners foresee this and prevent it? Barton’s is a priceless resource. Asked this by the Observer, Dr. McReynolds said, “I don’t really know.” She referred to the independent hydrologist’s report that runoff pollution of the aquifer could not happen. The city has taken protective steps that it thought were most appropriate at the time, she said. “What we’re learning,” she added, “is that it’s just a lot more sensitive than people predicted.” “Where are the new feces coming from?” the Observer asked Leonard Ehrler, whose title is director of parks and recreation. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5