After all the recent transformation in our life, beautiful though exhausting, we so welcomed a long weekend. We desperately needed a little escape from the noise and distraction of the city, just a few hours to get away and breathe.
Several years ago we discovered this quiet little strip of the Brazos River around an hours drive from Dallas, stretching from Lake Whitney about 8 1/2 miles thru farmland and forest, nothing to see or hear but nature in all its splendid glory. (and perhaps an occasional air boat or kayaker, maybe a fisherman or two) It takes several hours depending on the current and for whatever reason has become quite a healing escape for us. Whenever we need to think or pray, or even just get away from everything to play and be together, it's proven the perfect spot.
We were determined to get there this weekend despite the heat and low water levels, so we packed extra sunscreen and an ice chest full of ice cold kombucha, apples, and buttery chicken sandwiches to strap to the back of the kayak. Arriving it appeared we were the only people headed out, which delighted us to no end, of course.
You can tell just by looking at the photos how quiet it is...
Tranquil. The hum of locusts and splashing catfish the only sounds for miles and miles.
Clear, shallow water. Swallows nesting. Rocky outcrops. Iridescent dragonflies.
The swallow nests are everywhere. They chirp and dart in and out of their little mud nests constantly, a symphonic, God derived community.
We always stop for lunch a couple hours in. The shallow waters under the shade of this rocky outcrop made the perfect resting place.
I could sit and examine the underwater rocks and vegetation for hours and hours. I'm serious. I grew up fossil and artifact hunting with my Dad. He'd take me down to the river a mile or so from our house and we'd silently wander up and down the gravel dunes in the riverbed until daylight faded to night, forcing us home. Indian arrowheads, shark teeth, pottery remnants, sometimes even human bones from the ancient Indian burial grounds eroding into the river. It was one of my absolute favorite things, spending time with him doing something he so loved, but also the thrill of the hunt, the possibility of uncovering untold treasures. At just 5 or 6 years old, it's where my love of treasure-hunting very first began.
And of course I couldn't resist wading thru the water to climb onto the rocky ledges! Country girls have to climb, you know. When I was tiny my Moma called me 'monkey'. I'm sure you can guess why ;-)
Several miles still to go, we finally climbed back into the kayak and headed downstream.
With the heat of the day creeping up, our skin and muscles beginning to burn, we decided it best to cool off...
Into the water Josh goes, all refreshed and smiley. Into the water I go, for about 2.5 seconds until he lifts himself onto the kayak and freezes, "There's something down there." "What?!?" Panic washes over me as I begin to thrash and scream and scale the kayak like a tree, clinging to it passionately for dear life! I'm hoisted up, totally awkward, eyes big as saucers. He starts to laugh, louder and louder barely able to speak,"It's just a log or something! Good Lord! What did you think I meant?!" I stare at him entirely serious, "Josh. The find alligators in these rivers all the time." He laughs harder, "Oh please! You're ridiculous!"
This of course leads to a half hours worth of explanation and documented proof that stupid people do in fact buy baby alligators all the time, until the stupid people realize that of course it's stupid to have an alligator living with you, so said stupid people then do the absurd and release their now teenage alligators into nearby lakes and rivers where they in fact grow into monster alligators who eat innocent peoples legs off when their kayaking. I see it on the news. All the time.
He rolled his eyes a lot. And continued to swim. I, however, did not re-enter the water.
All in all it took us about 6 hours start to finish, including the many stops along the way to eat and play and snap endless photos. Of course there was lots of laughter and processing all of what we've been thru the last few months, too. And one incident where I burst into tears and he stopped the kayak, climbed in front of me, stared me down with truth, and prayed. Right there, in the middle of the river, he didn't give darkness a moment to creep in. He took authority and sent it packing, then climbed back in and continued to speak the truth out loud, over and over and over just so I could hear it.
And when our stop came into view and we paddled up to shore, I inhaled deeply, thinking how much better I felt, looking back down the river and acknowledging how healing it was. Water. Healing water. There's just something about it...
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols." Ezekiel 36: 25
And better still...
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13