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Meandering On

Okay, last time I had us eating lunch at the Creekhouse and I was meandering on (with no particular destination in mind) about how Wimberley had somehow managed to become home base for a number of celebrities--particularly big names in music.

I actually do think there is something important in that -- something about how we all will live in this curious age when small towns seem to be dying, while cities, particularly cities that are in the midst of economic booms (as is Austin), are becoming too expensive and too crowded for most of us to inhabit. Already, in terms of population density, many “cities” look like rings...that is, in terms of where people actually live, they are dense in the suburbs, and thin in the centers. People go into downtown to work, or seek entertainment, but only the very wealthy can afford to live there. it possible? future, that process will go further still, and city centers will be empty, indeed. And only machines, tourists, and care-takers will venture into the city core.

Or, maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, futurism-wise. I’ve heard it said that remote working is a trend that cannot be stopped, in spite of the (maybe ill-advised) efforts of managers to get people “back in the office,” and gradually many of those expensive office buildings will empty out. And, further, it seems that AI will replace a good many white collar jobs, and that will further attenuate the city’s role as business hub...because, of course, chatbots don’t need offices. Maybe, to survive, real estate firms will turn those empty buildings into housing, and cities will once again be a place where people actually live.

Or maybe none of this makes a wit of sense and I ought to just hush up now a’fore I reveal how lousy a prognosticator I really am. But, you know me. Being the strong, silent type is not exactly in my skill set.

Anyway, we finished up, settled our bill and headed out. We had some time before we checked into the hotel, so figured we’d window shop in the Square for a while. We decided we’d stay more or less in the western tip of the Triangle. So, we dropped our left-overs off at the car and then wandered along Henson Road. We hit a couple of shops along the way, but our goal was The Bent Tree Gallery, an art gallery that we had visited the last time we’d come to Winberley. It was a co-operative gallery, run by a number of artists, and we’d really liked some of the works we’d seen. I’d even planned on getting something while we were there. I’ve got a couple of places on walls in our office just calling out for some additional decoration.

About the photos: First, a shot of Martha at the Wimberley Cafe, which I don’t actually talk about much here. But, it’s a great place, and next time I visit the town, and do yet another series of posts on it, I’ll go into more detail. Second, the oil lamps at The Old Mill. In your hands, a lovely addition to a home. In mine, a WMD. And Third, a photo of the Bent Tree Gallery’s sign. Sigh. It was such a nice sign. And such a nice gallery.

Alas, we got there, and found that it had folded up its tents and vanished into the night. I never found out what happened, but I’m guessing a combination of Covid and rent took them down. It’s been a fairly common story in retail these last few years.*

The space was now occupied by a gift and apparel shop called “Gracious Ladies.” It seemed very nice, but we weren’t in the market for gifts right then, so we headed on. From there we made our way down Henson to Wimberley Square (the road, that is, not the place). We went past another arts and gifts shop, The Old Mill Store ( I was tempted to go in there. They had some interesting stuff last time I visited. They had some very cool oil lamps made out of stone and glass. I had never seen anything quite like them. I’d even toyed with the idea of getting one, or...because I’m thinking of branching out from candles...of trying to build something like one myself. (I’ll post a photo of the lamps below. )

But, on reflection, I remembered that I have exactly zero artistic skills when it comes to the physical universe, and having anything even remotely resembling flammable liquid fuel in the house (and around me) is sort of ...well...less than a brilliant idea. Might as well just call up my home insurance guy and tell him to prep for total disaster, scorched earth, napalm, nothin’-left-but-white-ash-and-charcoal, and a few sincere protests about violations of the Geneva Convention.

So, we skipped the Old Mill, too. Seemed safest.

We passed some shops and stores. Martha visited one or two, but we didn’t get anything. Then we came to one of the more mysterious items on the street. Next door to the Old Mill, there is a ruin. Actually, it is rather impressive. It is basically just the front facade of a building now, but it must have been quite amazing at one time. It is a huge stone thing with a second story, and vast arches in front. Now the back is entirely gone and you can stand in front, look through the metal fence that seals it away from trespassers, and see the sky behind it. It has a weird, lost grandeur feel to it. I’ve asked people on the street a couple of times what it was, and how it came to be in this state, but none of them knew--because, generally, they were new-comers or tourists, and therefore just as clueless as myself.

This time, however, I would get a lead on the story. But, I’m running out of room, so I won’t tell it here.

However, I will hint that we will shortly meet an enormous not overly fond of us...but inhabiting a vast, blue, and secret place.

Oh, and I promise, we will get to that last anecdote about Paul Simon...and a glass booth. Eventually.

More to come.


* I’ve since learned more about the Bent Tree and its fate. I’ll report on it in a future post. Briefly, though, it does still have a Facebook page, here:

And, that Facebook page has information on how to contact the artists who used to be represented there.

Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker


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