The Calm After The Storm.

For the past year or so I’ve noticed Radnor Lake seems to be getting lower. It’s an artificial lake, dug in the first decade of the 20th century to provide water for the railyards. There are approximately ten miles of underground pipe between it and downtown Nashville. Or were. It’s been a long time since it was needed and I don’t think anyone really knows how much of it is still intact. The lake and the wilderness around it used to be just for the railroad company owners. Then it was threatened with commercial development and a bunch of people got together and turned into a park for everyone. That could change at any time, though. I know there are a lot of developers who’d love some lakefront property and the only thing holding them back is knowing there’d be enough pushback that it wouldn’t be profitable.

The spillway is a big concrete wall at the southern end of the lake. At its northern end it’s fed by Otter Creek and at its southern end it feeds back into Otter Creek. Or does when it’s full. Sometimes the spillway is a waterfall and the creek runs like rapids, which must be great for the few otters that are still around. They were mostly wiped out when the lake was dug. Most of the times I’ve been to Radnor over the past year, though, the spillway is dry and the creek is only a trickle, if that. Up at the northern end I’ve also noticed that there are places where the shoreline has extended, land rising up from what used to be underwater.

The bridge over the spillway is metal and wood. It’s solid but if a lot of people are on it at the same time, or if you stomp hard enough, it wobbles slightly. Someday it will fall. Or it’ll have to be removed. Maybe it will be replaced. Maybe it won’t. That all depends on what people decide. All this seems very sad but I was still happy to see that someone carved NAMASTE into the handrail at the center of the bridge. It’s rusting and allowing rust to seep in under the paint, accelerating the decay of the bridge. The decay would happen anyway.

I used to take yoga classes and the instructor would say “Namaste”, which is a greeting, at the beginning of each class and also at the end. Every hello is only a prelude to a good-bye. Everything, even a lake, has its time, and nothing lasts forever.

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  1. Allison

    I love Radnor, and I hope that we can keep it going as long as possible. I saw a “memories” on Facebook from six years ago where I was complaining about unsustainable growth.

    All things must change. Even change itself.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I remember back in the mid to late ’90’s when there was a plan to install cellphone towers within the Radnor park. The cellular companies said, “Oh, don’t worry, the damage will be minimal!” I don’t see how they could promise that. And there was so much pushback it never happened, and you can get cellular coverage pretty much anywhere within Radnor, although it’s a place I go to get away from phones and everything else.
      For now I think it’s still mostly safe but, yes, that could change.


    Thanks for providing a moment of calm during the storm of climate change, Chris. Namaste.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Your comments are almost as therapeutic as yoga.


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