“Over The Rainbow”
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh, why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow.
Why, oh, why can’t I
Somewhere over the rainbow…For over two decades, my family’s over the rainbow place, where troubles melt like lemon drops, has been Rainbow River and Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida. A state protected waterway, without high powered engines, disposable containers or anything that might damage the environment. The State of Florida owns one side of the river so it is quiet and peaceful, at least upstream from where the tubers put it. Less than two hours from our house, but miles away from our hectic and frantic lifestyle, Rainbow River represents the place where we can go to escape, finally able to breathe again, muscles loosening from the tension of burdens carried far too long. When our youngest son was little, he coined a family phrase, “I need to go to the river,” which translates to “I am so stressed that I am about to explode.” We started staying at the campground before youngest son was born. When the boys and their friends got too big for all of us to fit comfortably in the camper , we rented a house for one week each summer. A week where we never put on shoes, where we spent our day floating in an inner tube anchored to the dock. Where the kids could go anywhere they wanted by canoe or kayak. As long as it was upstream, we figured they would eventually float back down. Such wonderful years! We looked forward to our slice of heaven when all of us recharged and relaxed. We hated to leave. Then, the kids grew up, got jobs and it was too hard to try and book a week together. Last year, we went to Rainbow River for a weekend in October. Though the campground fills up very fast and reservations have to be made eleven months in advance, we decided to make it an annual trip. A slice of a slice of heaven, not nearly enough, but 48 hours to breathe is better than none. We leave today and will stay until Monday morning when Glen and I will drive to Tallahassee for grant hearings. Nothing like jumping from the river into the rapids, but I keep reminding myself it is better than nothing. When did my mantra get to be that? I’ll just settle for a little? My diaphragm is bunched up so tight it hurts, my neck is a knot of ropes, my head aches and I long to be at peace, but I’ll just take a pill or a nap and forget about it for a minute. I know what to do, meditation, deep breathing, prayer, relaxation exercises, quiet music, a walk, a swim, but I don’t do them regularly. Instead, I allow myself to be rushed downstream in a whirlpool of anxiety. Indeed, being anxious is normal! That’s got to stop. Glen and I are working on some changes. As soon as we get back from over the rainbow, we are going to stop wishing and start doing.