A beautiful, hidden fountain forgotten by time.

Looking north at steps that lead down from the quiet, stately Balboa Park Administrative Building Courtyard.
Looking north at steps that lead down from the quiet, stately Balboa Park Administrative Courtyard.

A few weeks ago I meandered about Inspiration Point in Balboa Park. Walking slowly, pausing often, going nowhere in particular. Just seeing what I might see.

At the south edge of the Balboa Park Administrative Courtyard, I stood and gazed down the hill toward a corner of downtown San Diego. You might remember my blog about the courtyard. It’s a place that very few people know about. It’s peaceful, green, a bit of heaven. A place of solitude.

As I stood, I glanced down some steps leading toward a seemingly unremarkable patch of trees. A dusty lot next to the trees contained dozens of parked city Park and Recreation trucks. I wondered to myself if the public was permitted to walk down those steps, into what appeared to be a city work area.

This mysterious path seems to lead to a jumble of trees and a dusty parking lot full of city Park and Recreation trucks.
This mysterious path seems to lead to a jumble of trees and a dusty parking lot full of city Park and Recreation trucks.

Then I saw the blue among the trees. Was that water?

No sign indicated I couldn’t investigate. So I did.

And what I found took my breath away.

Beautiful Bird of Paradise in a section of Balboa Park where the public almost never goes.
Beautiful Bird of Paradise in a section of Balboa Park where the public almost never goes.
Entering a magical hollow in the trees, where a shining blue pool and small fountain await.
Entering a magical hollow in the trees, where a shining blue pool and small fountain await.

The trees seemed a forgotten oasis. At their center shined a lonely pool and a small fountain in the form of a child. The cherub seemed to be holding open the mouth of a carp, or perhaps reading a book–I don’t know.

The strange fountain appeared to occupy a magical place, entirely removed from the surrounding world.

What was it?

An email to the Friends of Balboa Park, an organization whose office is in the nearby Balboa Park Administration Building, provided a bit of information.

The person who replied parks her car in the lot not far from the pool and fountain, and she was completely amazed. She’d didn’t know of its existence.

Ranger Kim, who also works in the building, and who knows volumes about the history of Balboa Park, indicated that the fountain was left over from the 1920’s when the U.S. Navy built a large hospital campus in the immediate area.

In the 1980’s, the land was given to the city in exchange for acreage in Florida Canyon, where the new Naval Medical Center San Diego was built. The buildings from the 1920’s were eventually demolished, except for a Navy chapel, the administration building and its stately courtyard, and a nearby medical library and auditorium building. Today the chapel contains the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center; the administration building contains Balboa Park’s headquarters.

And, of course, magic remains where very few people go: a small fountain that healed spirits at the old Navy complex. A beautiful, hidden fountain forgotten by time.

The lonely fountain is in the form of a child. A few empty benches surround the tiled pool.
The lonely fountain is in the form of a child. A few empty benches surround the tiled pool.
This fountain is left over from the Navy hospital campus built in this area in the 1920's.
This fountain is left over from the Navy hospital campus built in this area in the 1920’s.
The figure seems to be holding open the jaws of a fish, or perhaps reading a book.
The figure seems to be holding open the jaws of a fish, or perhaps reading a book.
A beautiful, hidden fountain forgotten by time.
A beautiful, hidden fountain forgotten by time.

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Beauty floats one fine day above San Diego.

Beauty floats one fine day above San Diego.
Beauty floats one fine day above San Diego.

Here’s one of many photographs that I took today of the sky.  More beautiful photos of amazing clouds have been posted at my new blog, A Small World Full of Beauty.

Introducing a small world full of beauty.

Rainbow Sorbet
There are beautiful things everywhere.

This world might be small, but it’s overflowing with beauty. I see it on every walk. Every day.

So I thought I’d start a new blog called A Small World Full of Beauty.  Click the link!

My new blog will concentrate on two of my favorite things–photography and writing. I hope that it will inspire you.

Come along! I’m about to go outside! What will I find?

World’s top sand sculptors warm up in San Diego.

Dan Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri and Ilya Filimontsev from Moscow, Russia, work together on the big event's welcoming Team USA sand sculpture.
Dan Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri and Ilya Filimontsev from Moscow, Russia, work together on the big event’s welcoming “Team USA” sand sculpture.

The 2015 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition is coming next weekend! Between this very special annual event, and the equally amazing Festival of Sail which will be held a short distance up the Embarcadero, the long Labor Day weekend is going to be awesome!

Today I walked along the waterfront in the warm sunshine to see if anything interesting was going on.

Not only has quarry sand been dumped in large piles along the B Street Pier, right next to the Cruise Ship Terminal, but sand sculptures which welcome visitors to the event were being readied by a few of the world’s top sand masters! I briefly met Dan Belcher, Ilya Filimontsev and Susanne Ruseler, three of the best, most talented sand sculptors on the planet! And all were really nice people! They and the other world-class sand artists who will compete at the event have won many top awards. Dan, alone, has won 14 world championships!

Ilya is new to the San Diego competition this year, and so is Susanne. When I spoke to Susanne, I remembered how Chris Guinto, several days before last year’s competition, told me his still unformed creation was secret. Susanne remarked that plans aren’t so much a secret–it’s that they’re only partially formed when the work begins. The act of sand sculpting is dynamic, and sometimes changes have to be made mid-creation for either artistic or structural reasons. I asked if she ever accidentally knocked down portions of a sand sculpture and she replied: “Yes!” But it’s something you get used to and work around. It’s just something one can expect when working with sand.

Funny. According to a notification I received from WordPress, today is the two year anniversary of Cool San Diego Sights. And during those two years, the most “liked” blog post is from last year’s U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! You might enjoy seeing last year’s jaw-dropping entries!

The 2015 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge is coming to San Diego's B Street Pier, next to the Cruise Ship Terminal, this Labor Day weekend!
The 2015 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge is coming to San Diego’s B Street Pier, next to the Cruise Ship Terminal, this Labor Day weekend!
Dan is helping to create this non-competitive sculpture near the entrance to the 2015 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge at Harbor Drive.
Dan is helping to prepare this sculpture near the entrance to the 2015 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge at Harbor Drive.
These mounds of quarry sand from East County were dumped on the B Street Pier several days ago. They'll be used by the competing sand masters later this week.
These mounds of quarry sand from East County were dumped on the B Street Pier several days ago. They’ll be used by the competing sand masters later this week.
Susanne Ruseler, from the Netherlands, is another new competitor this year. She was super nice and talked for a bit.
Susanne Ruseler, from the Netherlands, is another new competitor this year. She was super nice and talked for a bit.
Susanne is carefully working on another cool sand sculpture for event visitors. I can't wait to see what she produces during the competition!
Susanne is carefully working on another cool sand sculpture for event visitors. I can’t wait to see what she produces during the competition!

Follow this blog for some stuff that can be unbelievably cool! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Sailboats fly before the wind on blue San Diego Bay.

Sailboats fly before the wind on blue San Diego Bay.
Sailboats fly before the wind on blue San Diego Bay.

I’m getting some photos ready for a blog I’ll post in a couple days. But this image seemed perfect for a sunny blue Sunday. So here it is!

Now it’s time for an afternoon walk…

Where will I go next?  I don’t know!  Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Setting a new world record helps the environment!

San Diego County Credit Union and Shred-it team up to attempt a new world record for paper collection and shredding!
San Diego County Credit Union and Shred-it team up to attempt a new world record for paper collection and shredding!

The huge SDCCU Super Shred Event is underway right now as I type!  The event is an attempt to break the world record for paper collection in a single location during a 24 hour period!

San Diego County Credit Union already holds the official Guinness World Record. Today they’re trying to break it. So why was I there taking photos? I collect my old records in a box at home, and whenever SDCCU offers free shredding, I head on down to take advantage of the service which is available to anyone. This morning the annual event, taking place in Mission Valley’s gigantic Qualcomm Stadium parking lot, is bigger than ever. So I brought my camera!

Not only does shredding paper documents protect against identity theft, but recycling paper is good for our environment. So this event is pretty cool for a whole variety of reasons!

The SDCCU Super Shred Event held in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. Unlimited free shredding helps fight identity theft!
The SDCCU Super Shred Event held in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. Unlimited free shredding helps fight identity theft!
As cars queue, volunteers collect donations for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.
As cars queue, volunteers collect donations for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.
SDCCU already holds the world record for most paper collected in a single location in a 24 hour period.
SDCCU already holds the world record for most paper collected in a single location in a 24 hour period.
Shred-it, a document destruction and recycling company, had a whole fleet of trucks ready for the big event!
Shred-it, a document destruction and recycling company, had a whole fleet of trucks ready for the big event!
A super nice volunteer smiles for my unexpected camera. Thank you!
A super nice volunteer smiles for my unexpected camera. Thank you!

See photos of some random cool stuff! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

More super awesome Comic-Con cosplay photos!

Supergirl crosses the Harbor Drive bridge with a cool companion. Is that some sort of Star Wars stormtrooper.
Supergirl crosses the Harbor Drive bridge with a cool companion. Is that some sort of Star Wars stormtrooper?

Here’s batch number two of super awesome cosplay photos taken at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con!

Okay, I admit I don’t know half these characters. But who cares? It was a lot of fun just seeing them all! Comic-Con is all about human imagination.  These cool costumes are living representations of the unlimited creative power that each of us possesses!

(For those of you following this blog who’d like to see something other than Comic-Con, have no fear! The big annual event is drawing to a close, and I’m sure we’ll have oodles and oodles of brand new cool San Diego sights ahead!)

It's another Snow White! She seemed exceptionally nice, even for a Disney character.
It’s another Snow White! This one seemed exceptionally nice, even for a Disney character.
The Walking Dead took over Petco Park today. That must be why I spotted the King County Sheriff with the ghost-busting Geek Outlaw.
The Walking Dead took over Petco Park today. That must be why I spotted the King County Sheriff with the ghost-busting Geek Outlaw.
Who on Earth is that crazy guy with a big-eared helmet! Don't ask me!
Who on Earth is that crazy guy with a big-eared helmet? Don’t ask me!
Perhaps this nice couple came from Scotland. Or maybe they're promoting Outlander.
Perhaps this nicely-dressed couple came from Scotland. Or maybe they’re promoting Outlander.
Guys walk along reading books while wearing question marks. Makes me feel better that I don't recognize who the heck they are.
Guys walk along reading books while wearing question mark masks. Makes me feel better that I don’t recognize who the heck they are.
What big claws you have Wolverine! Let me take a picture!
What big claws you have Wolverine! Let me take a picture!
Not sure who these folks are dressed up to be. One's got a big bloody axe.
Not sure who these folks are dressed up to be. One’s got a big bloody axe.
I'm guessing this is the nice Deadpool family.
I’m guessing this is the nice Deadpool family.
Somebody help me with this one. These characters seem familiar but my brain has stopped working.
Somebody help me with this one. These characters seem familiar but my brain has stopped working.
Lots of fun cosplay action behind the San Diego Convention Center during 2015 Comic-Con.
Lots of fun cosplay action behind the San Diego Convention Center during 2015 Comic-Con.
The alluring tattooed Blindspot lady has been joined by sneaky Catwoman! Watch out guys!
The alluring tattooed Blindspot lady has been joined by sneaky Catwoman! Watch out guys!
The Black Mage of Final Fantasy is joined by frolicking super heroines including Supergirl.
The Black Mage of Final Fantasy is joined by frolicking super heroines including another Supergirl.
Should I be concerned that the evil nefarious Poison Ivy is smiling at me.
Should I be concerned that the evil, nefarious Poison Ivy is smiling at me?
Okay, I do know that these awesome people are cosplaying Mad Max movie characters. Because they told me!
Okay, I do know that these awesome people are cosplaying Mad Max movie characters. Because they told me!
Henchman 21 of The Venture Brothers is Hench 4 Life!
Henchman 21 of The Venture Brothers is Hench 4 Life!
This bright yellow sunny cosplay is Dayman. That sunshine is perfect here in San Diego!
This bright yellow sunny cosplay is Dayman. That sunshine is perfect here in San Diego!
It's the vile Lord Hater of animated show Wander Over Yonder!
It’s the vile Lord Hater of animated show Wander Over Yonder!
Uh, oh. Better call the Caped Crusader. Because I've spotted Scarecrow. You don't scare me!
Uh, oh. Better call the Caped Crusader. Because I’ve spotted Scarecrow. You don’t scare me!
Captain America is walking among happy citizens, protecting all those who are visiting downtown San Diego for Comic-Con.
Captain America is walking among happy citizens, protecting all those who are visiting downtown San Diego for Comic-Con.
Boba Fett costumes are always cool. This is no exception.
Boba Fett costumes are always cool. This is no exception.
Spidey is always a big favorite when it comes time for kids to pose at San Diego Comic-Con.
Spidey is always a big favorite when it comes time for kids to pose at San Diego Comic-Con.
The smiling CEO of Jack in the Box just happened to be walking about the Gaslamp among a bunch of cosplayers.
The smiling CEO of Jack in the Box just happened to be walking about the Gaslamp among a bunch of cosplayers.
Clark Kent opens up his shirt to reveal the Superman emblem! Another cool sight at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con!
Clark Kent opens up his shirt to reveal the Superman emblem! Another cool sight at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con!

Enjoy future posts! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Ocean Beach Public Library needs activism and help!

The Ocean Beach Public Library needs your activism and help!
The Ocean Beach Public Library needs your activism and help!

I wasn’t expecting to write this blog. But I have to.

During this morning’s Ocean Beach Street Fair, I took a few photos of a smiling lady in a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hat. My senses were so dazzled by all the cool sights and activity round about me that I didn’t really notice the important purpose of her booth.

As I left the festival, I popped into the local library to use the restroom. And there, standing behind the front counter, was the Cat in the Hat hat lady!  She greeted me–she was a librarian! She had noticed me taking photos.

They’re for a blog, I said. Help us raise a million dollars, she said. I laughed, promised I’d try!

It wasn’t until this afternoon, as I looked closely at my photographs, that I realized she wasn’t kidding! The Ocean Beach branch of the San Diego Public Library really does need to raise money! Check out the poster which I enlarged!

So now I have to keep a promise.

Please help the Ocean Beach public library raise funds for much needed improvements!

Here is their Facebook page. It contains contact info.

Is this a cause you’d like to support? You might like to help them out! The OB Library is overdue for expansion. Spread the word! Let’s get it done!

Why expand the library? The children's area is crowded and too small! No space for teen and adult activities. The computer area is crowded, unpleasant and outdated!
Why expand the library? The children’s area is crowded and too small! No space for teen and adult activities. The computer area is crowded, unpleasant and outdated!
The library is the creative heart of Ocean Beach.
The library is the creative heart of Ocean Beach!

Join me for unexpected adventures on Facebook or Twitter!

Spreading cheer and good deeds in San Diego.

Birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.
Birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.

The astonishing success of this modest blog is hard to believe. Thank you.

This blog’s purpose is simple. It is to enjoy San Diego, to spread a little sunshine, and to help people who are doing good deeds or undertaking worthy causes.

Here are a few charities and positive organizations that would be grateful for your assistance.

Please click to learn more:

Please help Stuff the Bus to fight hunger!

Foster homes needed for loving San Diego cats!

Free books for teachers, schools, hospitals and prisons.

Ocean Beach Public Library needs activism and help!

Big red shoes help families heal in San Diego!

San Diego walking superheroes fight brain tumors!

The Salvation Army celebrates service in San Diego.

Spreckels Organ raises funds for Operation Rebound.

Cool Corvette car show benefits San Diego USO.

Art made of coins helps Rady Children’s Hospital!

Glean Queens of San Diego need your help!

Help Westview High School Music Outreach succeed!

Fill the Boot in San Diego to help burn victims!

San Diego breast cancer walkers: the final mile!

Wasted grocery food turns to art in Balboa Park.

20 Ways To Help the Homeless in San Diego.

Kids’ NewsDay benefits Rady Children’s Hospital!

Photos of cool pancake fundraiser on the OB Pier!

Photos of Coastal Cleanup Day in Ocean Beach!

Habitat for Humanity builds a house downtown!

San Diegans donate used textiles for charity.

Here are a few more thoughts about why I blog:

Writing a blog opens up an amazing world.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.