The nearly total darkness of Ludwig's grotto was necessary for its dramatic
purpose. Specifically, Wagnerian operas. It was built large enough for a small
boat, so that Ludwig had his own just-slightly rocking enclosure. The water
would have been only slightly lapping, since he used the 4 primitive Dynamo
pumps built in 1874 to filter the entire grotto and surrounding fountains. There
are, still today, some filtering problems. The fountains are in bad disrepair.
Copper figures are made to suffer from the green pock marks of oxidation, no
longer reflecting into the surface of the pool, no longer musing on fish, but
standing as aging mavens, dry and collecting leaves at their feet. Birds stop
for a little while, to see if anything has fallen into the leaves, cannot bathe. It still has the faint wrapping of quiet, of the last note of an opera. But only the last note, and the shuffling tourists have left the grotto on the move.