Just down the street from our house is the state headquarters for the Special Olympics of Illinois. Recently, the organization built a tribute park right next to the main building. It's a very lovely area, landscaped with gorgeous ornamental grass and roses and black-eyed susans. There are benches and curving limestone walls, inscribed with the names of volunteers, donors, and family members all along the border of the walking path. Here's the centerpiece of the tribute area:
(Ignore my distinctly pear-shaped shadow, please. Surely it's just a distortion of the setting sun, right?)
Really, it's all very inspiring and tasteful. In stark contrast to the rest of the light-colored limestone curving walls, there is a large slab of black granite in the very center wall, inscribed with an olympic-style torch, labeled FLAME OF HOPE.
But, wait a minute. Did you notice something amiss, too? The black granite focal point is actually a water feature.
Thus, the FLAME OF HOPE for the Special Olympics of Illinois is constantly doused in a never-ending sheet of cascading water.
Abandon all hope, indeed.
Special Olympics of Illinois Tribute Park Planning Committee, I blame you wholeheartedly for my uncontrollable fit of completely inappropriate laughter.
I am so ashamed of myself.
(Unless, of course, this was intentional, and not just some terrible gaffe revealing a lack of foresight and perhaps even a profound ignorance of the nature of fire. It could be that this was meant to symbolize the inextinguishable nature of hope or something along those lines. In that case, I suppose I'll just admit that my occasionally curmudgeonly nature hesitates to suspend what I know to be true of the physical world in the interest of sentiment and inspiration. I'm a total bore that way.)