Sunday, January 18, 2015

Paddle (almost) to the Sea

One of my favorite activities to do while on vacation is rent a canoe and explore the area. I love the quietness of the adventure. Wildlife have no fear of dripping oars, and usually I'm treated to some special sighting of some animal. For years I've daydreamed about having a canoe for our family. This week, that dream was fulfilled when hubby and I purchased an Old Town Canoe, the Saranac 160. A green, 16-foot behemoth, this canoe promises lots of future adventures for our family. We went on our first one yesterday.


Dearest Daughter dressed for fun!
Not far from our house, about five minutes by car, is a put-in spot for the Bartram Canoe Trail, and I had often driven by it and dreamed of a day when our family could explore it. The canoe only holds three people, so Brett and I took our daughter for the first outing. We loaded up the canoe on top of the Highlander, drove on over and turned down under the bridge.
One of two entrance spots
It was a beautiful but chilly day. The sun was out for the first time in over a week. We eagerly unloaded the canoe and set out for a little adventure.
Our first view on the water

The still water made for beautiful reflections!

Why yes, that is my trusty Tom Bihn Synapse 19, hard at work!
The Saranac 160 is called the mini van of canoes, and it's easy to see why. Although it's heavy, it is stable and tracks well. There's plenty of on-board storage, and each of us had a nice hot beverage sitting in a cup holder next to us. My iPhone sat close by in a dry well...just in case. There are convenient places to put fishing rods, although we didn't bring any. Our mission was strictly exploration, fun, and photography. Serendipitously, my daughter had a photography assignment for the week to capture reflections in water. I would say she succeeded! This trip was full of beautiful photographic moments featuring reflections!

While on the water we were treated to seeing birds, squirrels, one water moccasin (could have done without that one) and even a loud beaver busily at work!
Very happy paddlers!
The trail we were on will carry you eventually to Durbin Creek. From there it opens to the St. Johns River, which is an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. We only explored about a mile or so out from the put-in, but I'm looking forward to further adventures in future days.
On the return trip to home
We have so many places we want to explore now. Once duck season is done, one of the first will be the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Estuarine Research Reserve, which serves as a nursery for many forms of marine life, including dolphins and manatees. I've purchased a couple of canoe and kayak guides to get us started. I am amazed at how many places there are within a short drive from our home. Adventure awaits! It's time to get paddling!

Here's a map of our adventures, for any who may be interested.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chill

Winter has come to Florida! Since it is an occasion to be remarked upon and remembered, lasting for only approximately 48 hours out of the year, I thought I'd take a moment and capture the essence. I'm sitting in front of the fire, a cup of steaming rooibos tea (still fasting!) in front of me, and a gingery bundle of fluff supervising my writing.
The house is still, silent, and somnolent. A breeze is a susurrus in the background. I am snuggled in one of my hand knit wool sweaters, and somewhere in the distance I hear a cat faintly purring. It's a perfect time for a poem!


I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fire.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fevourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

I heard on the radio this morning that approximately 85% of the country is below freezing. Stay warm everyone, and have a blessed day!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Turnings

It's the turn of a new year. With that, it makes me want to capture the time and slow it down. The older I get, the more time slips away from me, as water through my finger tips. My children grow, and in turn grow taller than me. One more wrinkle appears on my tired mommy forehead. An ache in my shoulder becomes an everyday companion. And through it all I rush, heedless of time, allowing the tyranny of the urgent to overrule and dominate in my life. It is a never-ending cycle I beat back all the time, like weeds invading a garden.

This year, as in past years, I am participating in our church's annual Daniel Fast. I'm adding to it, however, a fast from my favorite forums, including FaceBook. I'm two days in and I'm feeling the loss, but not in the way I'd imagined. I feel it much like a child who loses a tooth, and keeps searching for it with her tongue, feeling the gap in her mouth. I've worn a path over the past almost ten years of building relationship online through places like Ravelry. I have friends, support, and fun, and that is all well and good. It has been since I obtained the "i" devices, an iPhone and iPad, though, that I found spare seconds were spent there that perhaps could have been spent in more productive ways. And so now I find myself prayerfully separating myself for a time, to see if I can rediscover those odd moments in life that I crave:  time to create, to relate, and to reflect.

It's early yet, but so far I've discovered time to sit, read, study, and knit. Spinning has even popped back into my life. And real letter writing to friends. And journaling. One of my true delights is time spent first thing in the morning reading and contemplating A Year with C. S. Lewis, a book I've owned for far too long and have barely dusted off. His essays make me think in all the good ways that I used to do. I'm reading my Bible, and I managed, in just three days, to finish getting my work completed so that I could become an IEW Registered Instructor. I'm embarrased to admit that I first began the process way back in 2012, and put it aside until now, but it's done!

For my knitting, I'm working on a simple shawl, Gaskell.
It's knit with Cascade Eco+
I'm looking forward to more spindle spinning over the next month or so. I was so blessed to receive a Moosie spindle by the Bosworth's as a Christmas gift, and I can hardly wait to give it a twirl! I'm finishing up some merino on a Trindle at the moment, but I think I'll select something over the weekend to start with my new treasure.

Oh yes, and I finished my "Just for You," project on time and was able to wear it to Christmas Eve services! I love wearing it. The Cadena yarn from Knit Picks was a perfect choice!
I pray the 2015 year is one full of blessings for you. I pray it is a time of drawing closer to family, to community, to Christ. Be blessed!