Gratitude for Tuscawilla Lake

Gratitude for  Tuscawilla Lake ©Lynne Buchanan
This evening on Tuscawilla Lake was so healing for my soul.  I am very involved in writing my book and on a service project for the environment.  Sometimes all the issues I explore seem overwhelming and the situation we face as a culture seems dire.  At such times, the best thing I can do is take my kayak down to the lake and go for a paddle.  The lake near my house is so lovely.  Unlike many other waterways I study, it is in pretty good shape.  The bladderwort in the lake has exploded and bladderwort is a wonderful plant.  It cleans the water and keeps mosquitoes at bay.  I paddled all around the lake, looking at the clouds and lily pads from different angles.  The good part about all the rain we've had is that the lake is very deep now and it is possible to kayak far deeper into it than I ever have.  I am hopeful that this rain is also replenishing the aquifers.  Near the end of my paddle, Source seemed to agree that it was a good evening.  As the sun set it went right behind this little cloud on the horizon and shot up God rays like a fan.  The other clouds and their reflections benefited from this light extravaganza.  Sitting in my kayak, I was so grateful for the show and shouted thank you for the universe.  This is why I am dedicating my life to protecting waterways and the environment.  Not only do I need water to live in a physical sense, it is a spiritual healer as well.

Tuscawilla Clouds and Bladderwort ©Lynne Buchanan

Early in the evening, I watched these clouds dance across the sky as I paddled deeper into the bladderwort and lotus plants.  It felt so wonderful to be alone with the birds enjoying the scenery as it shifted and revealed patterns I never anticipated.  There is no way I can ever photograph with expectations any more.  What happens all depends on what gifts nature cares to give me.  I wait with gratitude and respond from my heart.

Lily Pads and Clouds ©Lynne Buchanan
Yesterday, I came across on article by Jack Turner in The Sun Magazine about how wilderness is an endangered experience and how we can't expect anyone to support conservation if they never go outside and have an immediate, wild experience.   As I paddled around in this lake, where I did not see a single other soul and which I did not even have to drive to from my house, I realized that people don't have to travel great distances to experience wilderness. I am fortunate that I live in such a beautiful place, but there are parks and little bits of nature everywhere.  When you start by appreciating your own backyard, that backyard grows and grows until you care about nature everywhere.

Every direction I turned there were clouds.  Then the sun began to set and beautiful reds mixed with lavenders and pastel hues to create a canvas of color in the sky and in the water.  I could have stayed out there until it was dark, but the vegetation had grown up so much in the launch slip that I knew I would have difficulty getting back in. Though the lake is mostly filled with bladderwort, some of the vegetation near the shoreline may have been invasive from runoff.

Moon, Clouds, and Bladderwort on Tuscawilla Lake 
©Lynne Buchanan
Just before I used my hands to pull the kayak through to the shore, I turned around and saw the full moon over the lake.  I was sad to say goodnight, but I knew next time I look out my window and see clouds and run down to the lake I will be treated with another equally beautiful display, the uniqueness of which will be a mystery until then.  This is why I enjoy paddling so much.  I never know what gifts I will receive, but I am always grateful. 

Saying Goodnight to Tuscawilla Lake ©Lynne Buchanan
No matter what challenges I face every day, I know I can go to sleep knowing there is still so much beauty in this world.  Tomorrow, I will wake up and go back to helping people wake up through my art.  As long as I am in this world and there is beauty like this left to preserve, I will keep celebrating it and doing my best to spread the message that we owe it to our children and ourselves to learn from, connect, and protect the nature around us.