Throughout these last few months, throughout this pandemic, my family and I have been at home. Although worried about the nature of things in the world, we, like many others, shifted our focus on gratitude for our family, this special time together, and the opportunity to slow down and focus on what counts. We embarked on gardening, slow foods, artistic adventures, and many stimulating family games.
Recently, with the bans being lifted at our local parks and natural areas, we started to feel ourselves itching for adventure. With the beauty and inspiration that nature offers, and the idea of being secluded in such beauty, we decided to begin venturing out to the natural spaces we dearly love.
One of our first stops was to Biscayne National Park. Biscayne National Park is a beautiful hidden gem. With its scenic views, historic architecture, and peaceful nature, it begs to be explored. Although the common areas were still closed when we decided to visit, the waters were wide open for exploration. We arrived at around 10:00am and, aside from a pair of kite surfers, we were alone. We parked at the canoe rental area, set our canoe into the water, and paddled off into the wilderness.
The day was overcast and the waves were stronger than we were used to. Still, we felt grateful for this opportunity in nature. As we paddled, we watched the kite surfers, gliding through the ocean. It felt magical to watch as they danced with the forces of the wind. I found myself dreaming of doing the same one day.
Then, something caught my eye. Like sparkling sea glass on a sandy beach, the subject seemed to glisten and sparkle. I knew what it was the moment I saw it; the skeletal remains of a sea creature…perhaps a manatee. I was captivated. We paddled closer and marveled at it.
To me, seeing something like this, gives me a sense of calm. To know that nature has a cyclical way of taking care of itself. It’s the way I feel when I see mushrooms growing on decaying trees. It’s the ultimate lesson that nature provides us, there is no waste and everything has a purpose. That alone, made the adventure worthwhile. Still, we paddled on.
To our left was a very narrow opening. I worried. It felt too quiet. My husband was interested and so we paddled on. What we found was the quietest, most serene, canoeing trail. The only sounds were of nature – the moving waters, the jumping fish, and the nesting birds. It was perfect.
We followed the trail to its end, turned around, and paddled back. Once we left the narrow trail, the waters were choppier than before. We were terrified as we paddled our hardest through the waves yet, still, we felt invigorated! After what seemed like an eternity of paddling, we made it back to the drop off point. The water at the drop off was clear and shallow enough so we got off and played a while. It was a perfect way to end this little adventure.
As we loaded our canoe back onto our truck a sense of calm washed over all of us. We had been somewhere special, we had made unique discoveries, and we had felt the meaning of life. We were happy.