How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)
Rainbow River is the place we go to once a year to unwind and release the stress that everyday life thrusts upon us. As we do nothing but sit by or in the water and rest, the river and its inhabitants entertain and amuse. Away from our office, housework, cell phones and internet, we use all five senses to soak in our environment. Our imaginations are stretched by the creativity around us. The river’s fresh smell mingled with the scent of pine needles is a tonic that soothes. The cool water is just the ticket for this menopausal woman. I do not get out of my bathing suit all week and douse myself in the crystal clear waters as though a tuberculosis patient in a mineral spring. The wind teases my hair and fans my flushed checks. The news channel says it is 95 degrees outside, but not at the river’s edge. My favorite time of day is evening as the sun goes down, and the river folk head for bed. In the softened light, I can see clearer. The otters cruise along in front of us crunching away at their bed time snack before disappearing into their burrow hidden beneath a large cypress tree. The wood duck families lead by mama wind their way through the thick clouds of flies that hover just over the water’s surface. The babies eat their fill under her watchful eye. She darts out corralling them close to her as a small alligator glides past. Flocks of white egrets soar over head their bellies turned pink from the setting sun. Hundreds make their way to roost in groups of seven or eight. A kite, his bright white head such a contrast to his black body and long v shaped tail, bursts into my vision. Just fifty feet in front of me, he skims the water. One minute he is there, the next, he is gone. Many sights dance before my eyes, and even more sounds fill my ear Woodpeckers drill a secret message with Morse code back and forth from one side of the river to the other. Crows perch in the pines above my head trading raucous cries with the anhingas in the oaks across the way. Cardinals, jays and other birds I do not recognize fill the air with their calls. A turtle surfaces, and then slaps the water as he submerges once again. A mud fish breaks the water with an echoing splash. Two squirrels chatter in the yard. They fight over the last peanut dropped into the grass earlier in the day. Crickets drum and fill the air around me with their crackle. The noise rises and falls just like a teenager adjusting the volume on their car radio. First the bass, then the treble, then the bass once more. I do not move until the drone of a mosquito drives me inside. Without a doubt, my Creator loves me dearly. The beauty surrounding me is proof of that.