As I was driving past the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge, GA Friday afternoon I remembered how much being in God’s beautiful creation is an instant mood lifter for me. There is especially something about water that makes me feel at peace- whether it’s a walk on the beach, laying on a beach towel listening to the waves breaking, standing on a paddle board floating down the river, or hearing rain drops hit the trees outside. It could even be as simple as drinking a glass of water or looking at a picture of the ocean.
I kind of grew up on the water. Some of my earliest memories are of climbing on my dad’s back and grabbing his neck as he swam underwater through the pool. I also remember learning to swim in the backyard pool of one of my parents’ teacher friends and mastering the art of floating on my back. I joined the swim team around 4th grade and my summers soon became consumed spending my days at the community pool and weekends going to nearby towns for swim meets.
My dad taught a summer camp where you spent part of the time in the classroom learning about science and then you’d go outside to apply what you learned. We spent a lot of our time canoeing down the Peace River. I have some great memories of the strategically planned water fights where my dad and the other teachers would use their ice water from their lunches to soak certain students for payback while trying not to flip their canoes into the alligator infested waters. It’s funny to me how fearless of alligators we were back then. We actually sought them out and would try to see how many we could find in a given day. I guess that was all part of the learning component- teaching problem solving skills on how to safely canoe past them?
Yesterday my husband and I went on an adventure with our 3 and 6 year old boys to find a swinging bridge. We ventured out knowing that the road to get there might be a little rough, but we have 4 wheel drive so we were confident. After a few pit stops and questioning whether or not we lost a car part in the bumps in the road we made it.
The short hike to the bridge was just right for our two whiny kids, but unfortunately the river was a little too deep and the water was moving too fast for swimming than we thought it would be. We had promised our boys they could swim and even let them wear their bathing suits. So we decided to head back to another spot near our cabin that we knew was rockier and would be better for climbing around on with two young kids. We missed our turn on the way back and almost spent the whole afternoon exploring the mountain roads of Georgia, but we finally found our way back to the spot we were looking for. It was definitely an adventure and although my idea of fun is different now that I’m a mom, I still found my joy in nature and I think my family did too.