O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1 (NIV)
Instead of a Black Friday, we had a Blue one. Adopted daughter and her boyfriend are here for the holiday, but they will go home tomorrow after only two days. So, we needed to cram in some time experiencing the real Florida, not that fake one that lives in Orlando. Instead of getting up early to go to the mall, we headed out early to a local nature preserve, Emerson Point, to go kayaking and canoeing. Adopted daughter and her boyfriend were in kayaks and youngest son, Lucy and I manned a canoe. Actually, youngest son manned it. Lucy and I sat like Cleopatra in her barge and enjoyed being paddled. We went through the mangrove tunnels, ducking sometimes under tree branches, at other times poling through the shallow water. The tide was very low this morning causing youngest son to cringe whenever a boat scrapped over the oyster beds. Once into deeper water, we had a choice to skirt the point and take in the Manatee River, but youngest son was worried about exposed sandbars, so instead we crossed Terra Ceia Bay to Rattlesnake Key. Despite stiff winds and discourteous boaters that threatened to swamp our canoe, we made it across. Adopted daughter and boyfriend got a real workout on their arms as they battled the waves as well. Lucy jumped right out of the canoe to swim and chase birds while we ate a snack before braving the channel again. With the rush of an incoming tide, it was not easy getting back and we were grateful to enter the mangrove tunnel now filled with water. It had risen at least two feet in the hour and a half we had been gone. After returning home for lunch, we went to a second nature preserve, Robinson Preserve for an afternoon of bike riding. Adopted daughter and boyfriend are competitive riders so I had offered to stay home, but they wanted me along. They chose to go my pokey, one speed bicycle pace, SLOW, although at one point with the wind at our backs, their speedometers recorded that we were going 11 miles an hour. I was pretty proud of that until I asked them how fast they usually ride. “Fourteen miles an hour is our lowest rate,” was the reply. Still, we had a beautiful ride over the bridges that span the channels and along the Manatee River. We climbed to the top of the observation tower and boyfriend could only saw, “WOW!” at the view. It was such a beautiful, clear day, we could see all the way across the bay to Tampa. We encountered hundreds of fellow visitors, kayaking, riding, walking and running along the trails. I wish our county commissioners could have been there to see the payoff of all the money invested in natural resources, happy taxpayers enjoying our beautiful county. Much better than waiting all night to buy a new television! I would much rather invest in relationships than stuff any day!