The Sensuous, Mysterious Beauty of the Hillsborough River

Hillsborough River Rapids During Rainy Spring ©Lynne Buchanan

Hillsborough River Vista ©Lynne Buchanan
The weather in Florida has been wetter than usual.  A lake near my house in North Florida that was dry last year, was over 12 feet deep in places recently.  There is a small lake on my own property that wasn't there when I bought the house, and I receive daily flood alerts for the Santa Fe River.  From time to time, I have gotten a little worried, especially after the mold outbreak that occurred when the rains stopped and the temperatures warmed.  I wonder if this spring was yet another example of severe weather brought about by climate change.  One night I woke up from the heavy rains and wished I had an ark. Yet, the region has been in a prolonged drought, so once the water is absorbed it will be welcome here.  It is just that the earth can't absorb it quickly enough.

In the central part of the state, the conditions for photographing the Hillsborough River were ideal on the spring day I stopped there.  When I first walked down to the rapids, which are usually in quite shallow water, I actually saw a man navigating them by canoe, though he did have to use some tree branches to pull his way through.  The cloudy conditions made the river and its banks look very lush and everything was quite green.  My dog and I hiked up an down the river bank, taking it all in.  We found special spots and sat and mediated on the beauty before us, though my dog sometimes became frustrated with the care I was taking making each photograph since she no doubt would rather have been following all the smells.  It was fecund and brimming with mysterious life, and it truly did engage all our senses.  The peacefulness was palpable and it looked very sensuous and inviting.  This is a side of Florida often skipped by tourists in favor of the more crowded beaches.  Here, by the river, it is possible to really drop in and connect with one's surroundings.  It is healing, calming, and connecting, and more people should treat themselves to the rejuvenation that is possible here.