Into the New Year

Bryan Adams Memorial Sculpture ~ Brazoria Wildlife Refuge


If this life of ours
Be a good glad thing, why should we make us merry
Because a year of it is gone? But Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering, “It will be happier,” and old faces
Press round us, and warm hands close with warm hands,
And thro’ the blood the wine leaps to the brain
Like April sap to the topmost tree that shoots
New buds to heaven; whereon the throstle** rock’d
Sings a new song to the new year—and you?
Strike up a song, my friends, and then to bed.
                             ~  from The Foresters: Robin Hood & Maid Marian ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson


** ‘Throstle’ is an older word for song thrush.
About the sculpture:
Bryan Adams served as Environmental Education Coordinator for the Mid-coast Wildlife Refuge Complex: the Brazoria, San Bernard, and Big Boggy refuges. He was dedicated to educating people — especially children — about the wonders of nature; each year, the refuge programs provide learning opportunities for up to three thousand elementary and secondary students from local school districts, the Houston School district, and Rice University. After his death, the bronze sculpture of the children was selected as a fitting memorial. A dedication for the sculpture and a new pond is planned for January.

47 thoughts on “Into the New Year

    1. At this point, I don’t have more information, either. Volunteers at the refuge weren’t able to help, and the board members of the Friends of Brazoria Refuges I contacted didn’t know the name of the sculptor. Someone certainly does, but I haven’t made the right connections. I’m going to try again after the holidays.

      The sculpture’s installed next to a pond that still was under construction the last time I saw it, and the bare ground and piles of dirt around it limited my options for a photo.By the time of the dedication, I’m sure more information will have been made public, and the landscaping will be complete. I’d like to see what it looks like in sunlight, too. So far, I’ve only seen it on rainy days.

    2. A further note: originally, his family started a fund for a bronze heron to be placed as a memorial to Adams. That turned out not to be feasible (perhaps because of cost), so the family and others sought a different option, and found this sculpture.

            1. A heron exchanged for a gown
              with birders could lead to a frown.
              But kids on a log
              and a pond with a frog?
              Their thumbs will point up, and not down.

    1. It’s a fine sculpture — and not only artistically. I can see my childhood in it, and I know you can see yours, too. Maybe it will play some small part in stirring impulses toward exploration and play in the kids piling off the buses at the refuge. Here’s to 2019: hang on to that leash, and be happy!

    1. Exactly so, and I think the sculpture conveys a sense of children moving into that future, even as they enjoy the present. Beyond that, the sculpture itself is a delight, filled with interesting details.

    1. Knowing what I do about the staff and volunteers at the refuge complex, I’d say the chances for a good future are certain. While it’s a federal refuge, volunteers of various sorts provide every kind of support, including supplemental funding for the sculpture that the family made possible. I do love the place, and I’m looking forward to more involvement there in the new year.

  1. The sculpture is beautiful and so life like that for a brief moment, I thought the children were real. Love the poem too. Here is wishing you a most prosperous New Year of good health and many photo opportunities that produce even more fantastic photos for your flowers to enjoy.

    1. It is life-like. When I first saw it, I almost could feel a couple of the kids trying to keep their balance. And I do like the details, like the little ruffle on the bottom of the girl’s pants. I’m sure the children who visit the refuge will like it. It’s a way of saying, “This is your place to enjoy, too.”

      I’m ready for a new year, and looking forward to the opportunities it will offer. I do hope it’s a good one for you as well, Yvonne — peaceful, healthy, and filled with new pleasures.

    1. Can you hear me laughing? I’ve never heard that song, and it’s a good one, especially for someone prone to hang photos of caterpillars around the house. Here’s to a new year filled with merry songs about wonderful creatures, and perhaps even some wonderful songs about merry human beings.

        1. What a delightful song. Of course, now I want what I can’t have — a direct flight to NZ — but it certainly does look appealing. There was a marketing genius behind that one, and one with a sense of humor!

    1. I’m more ready than usual for a new year, Gary, and I suspect you are, too. Wishing you a peaceful studio, a happy Muse, good music, and not too much snow! Happy New Year!

    1. Those are all good wishes, GP, but I’m not sure the last one’s necessary. You’re pretty easy to put up with as it is. All my best for the coming year, and thanks for what you’ve given us in the one just past.

    1. Just think — in a very few years, your babes will be log-walking (or bicycling, perhaps). There certainly will be considerable change in the coming year; as someone I know likes to say, “Merry On!” I’m looking forward to sharing the new year with you.

  2. That’s a great sculpture, and what a perfect memorial for someone who worked with kids – liveliness, childhood adventure, camaraderie, joie de vivre. (And that just prompted another New Year’s resolution, “Learn to spell at least a dozen French-derived words.”) (Like, “Yep, that’s a beaucoup bunch a fancy words ya got there, mon ami.”)

    1. I see all of those qualities you listed in the sculpture. Lurking behind them all is freedom. Could one kid fall off the log? Sure. Could one of the kids shove another one off the log? It’s possible. Could one purposely jump off the log to get that frog in the pond? Highly likely. But at the end of the day, they’ll be happy and giggling, and want to know when they can come back.

      I hear a slight Cajun accent in that French you’re speaking. Maybe a little trip down da bayou ought to be included in your travel plans: not New Orleans, but real Cajun country. You’d have such a good time.

    1. That’s how hope is; it lurks around in surprising places. Here’s hoping the year to come is a good one for us all, even with all the complications it will surely bring. Who knows? Perhaps Peanut will decide to return home and bring her brood with her! Actually, I hope that doesn’t happen, but whatever comes, we’ll get through it all. Happy New Year to you, Dina.

  3. We have a similar sculpture in one of our parks, and I find it enchanting. Tennyson’s poem, too, is most fitting, especially for this time of year. Lots of learning experiences to look back on and ponder; lots of fresh new dreams to lead us into the days and weeks ahead. Perhaps we make a big deal over the turning of a new year, but I’m inclined to appreciate the effort. And the need to recognize that one year is different from another is probably more universal anyway. Happy 2019, Linda!

    1. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is my favorite week of the year. It seems somehow spacious: big enough to contain all that looking back and looking forward you mentioned. Here’s to a year of occasional enchantment and realized dreams, Debbie. It’s impossible to know what 2019 will bring, but there’s no question it will be interesting!

  4. I looked at this Linda, and could’t help but think of all of the times over the years I have crossed logs hoping that my balance would get me over to the other side. It is a fitting memorial to those of us who love nature. –Curt

    1. And now that we’ve crossed over into a new year, Curt, let’s hope we all can keep our balance as we try to get across this one. There is something about the challenge of a log that can’t be denied. Even now, I find myself occasionally hopping up on a curb and seeing how far I can walk it without stepping off. If I ever come to a log, I’ll be ready.

      1. You hopping up on a curve gave me a big smile, Linda. Shades of our youth. Did you used to hike down rails when you were growing up? As for this year, crossing over a gently flowing creek on a log is one thing, crossing over a raging torrent is something else, even if it is the same log. May we all maintain some degree of balance. –Curt

        1. I did some rail walking as a kid, but my real kick was walking the long wooden trestle down at a local park. It was a freight line and we pretty much knew the schedule, but one kid was responsible for keeping an ear and a hand to the rails, too. The last time I walked tracks was in Arkansas, about three years ago. I have a half-dozen spikes on a shelf in my bedroom that I brought home as souvenirs.

          1. Southern Pacific ran through Diamond Springs when I was a kid, so we had plenty of rail walking opportunities. We also had a trestle about 70 feet off the ground. Walking those required triple dares! My brother had gathered up some spikes from the disassemble narrow gauge railway that brought logs in from the forest and the threw them off of the trestle. Shortly after, an SP detective had shown up to blame Marshall of pulling the spikes off of the trestle! He took one look at my skinny hundred pound brother and decided probably not— that and the fact that no rails were missing from the trestle. –Curt

  5. Very nice sculpture. I love bronze because of the glow it radiates and the patina. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem is very nice too. What masterful poet he was!

    1. I still haven’t seen the sculpture in sunlight, but my hunch is that in early morning or late afternoon light, it would be even more lovely. This view is from the north, facing almost due south, so this would be the time of year to give that late afternoon photo a try. The challenge is that, shooting from the other side, the background is a building, benches, and a variety of other distractions. It will be fun to see what I can do with it.

      This bit of Tennyson was new to me. I’ve used his “Ring Out, Wild Bells” on New Year’s Day, but I think this fits just as well.

  6. It’s nice to learn about people who spend their lives doing good work. And I think the sculpture that resulted from the first not working out is more fitting learning about his interest in educating children.

    In the email notification, when I saw the name of the person I thought, not terribly seriously, that you were writing about the rock musician. As well, there is another without the B.

    1. The name ‘Bryan Adams’ seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t remember who he was. Then, I went looking. Now I remember. “Summer of ’69” is on my roadie playlist.

      I think the committee found the perfect sculpture for the memorial. Sometimes, even when things seem not to work out, they do — and often better than could have been planned in the beginning. It will be fun to see how kids respond to it. I predict imitators trying to walk the curb along the road.

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