Day 7: February 2, 2012
Bells, Bok, & Cardinal
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I had never heard of Bok Tower until it popped up on my GPS as I neared the end of my drive down from Ohio. Of course, it's well known to the locals and recommended by them, too. As the week progressed, Thursday had emerged as the day for a Bok Tower visit. It was also massage day.

Eldon is a trained and licensed masseuse and has a table installed in an extra room. Today began with yet another benefit of Uncle Eldon's All Inclusive Resort, a massage. Although Eldon was planning on going with me to the tower, he has been there several times so it really wasn't an issue when a neighbor called to inquire about an afternoon massage. While Eldon prepared for the massage room's next visitor, I headed off to the tower with my freshly and completely relaxed body.

Bok Tower contains a 60 bell carillon and I'd learned from the web that concerts were held each day at 1:00 and 3:00. I targeted the 1:00 event and timed it almost perfectly. I arrived with just enough time to watch the introductory movie and walk leisurely to the tower before the concert began. The carillonneur plays from a room high in the tower but is visible on a video monitor at ground level. Many people watch and listen from chairs in front of the monitor while others, including me, stroll around the area while listening to the music which spreads in all directions. The pictures in the next two panels were taken during that stroll which means the post-concert picture of carillonneur Geert D'hollander appears out of sequence. When asked if he practiced new material on the actual carillon, the answer was a quick "Oh, no. People would kill me if I practiced up there." Practice is on a keyboard attached to a xylophone.

The tower is an impressive structure in an impressive setting. Mosaics near the top of the tower depict birds and other animals and the hawks flying around the tower in the second photo often rest atop sculpted birds at its top. The third picture shows the tower's south side which features a large sun dial. Behind the Great Brass Door is the Founder's Room which was once Edward Bok's private study. The general public is not permitted into the tower.

I have a Twitter account (which is tied to my Facebook account) to which I occasionally send half witty comments on my travels. At some point during my stroll around the tower, I tweeted "Just found out there's no bok beer at Bok Tower. Very tricky." Within minutes I heard from @BokTower, "We need to get ourselves together here! I know we offer bock during our Boktoberfest in October (go figure, right?)". Now that's the kind of response that makes a Tweeter smile.

The ponds near the tower are populated with huge goldfish and I splurged on a quarter's worth of food for them. The fish did not appear underfed even without my contribution.

I also splurged on the optional tour of Pinewood Estate. The 1930s home is not overwhelming but having every step and doorway different and marking the building's exact center with a hexagon certainly make it interesting.

The landscaped grounds are beautiful and gardeners could no doubt spend hours identifying and admiring the flora. I, of course, have no idea what any of the plants are so was restricted to admiring only.

The gardens include a small cabin with a one way window facing a small pond. This is called, cleverly enough, "Window by the Pond". When I entered, the cabin was completely empty and a squirrel sat merrily munching atop the rightmost of three "stumps". I snapped a few pictures then turned my attention to the leftmost "stump" when a cardinal landed on it. I was focused on the cardinal when I heard people talking behind me. The room was half full when I first turned to look and was soon nearly completely filled. That first comment was, "Look at that squirrel trying to get to the food." Sure enough, when I pulled the camera from my eye, I saw an empty "stump" with a squirrel on the bank scurrying about and trying to figure out how to get to it. I have no idea whether this was the same or a different squirrel. My guess is that the squirrel I'd seen when I first entered had dropped onto the "stump" from a tree branch but how (or if) he got off without getting wet is a complete mystery. Them squirrels sure are smart.

I rested up with an iced tea outside the café while the little fellow in the first picture kept me company. Then I headed off with one last shot of the tower from the long approach road.

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