By Lucy Fuller
There is a lesson in every single moment of every single day and its up to us to look for it.
Jody and I went kayaking about a week ago on the Tallapoosa River. I had been wanting to explore our neck of the river since we moved here last July. Thanks to a dear friend, we were able to borrow a couple of kayaks and hit the water just in time to see the Cahaba lilies in full bloom. I have never seen these flowers before and was extremely excited to experience something so beautiful. It was a bit windy and the water was low. We had to paddle quite a bit and really watch for rocks. After scraping across several I began to try and read the flow of the water. If you look closely you can see where the water flows differently around the rocks and if you act fast enough you can paddle around it and through it.
Shane, our guide and friend, led us safely through the water and kept us moving forward. I was worried my biceps were going to cramp up and I wouldn’t be able to paddle all the way… But I did. I knew that those lilies were downstream and I was determined to get to them. I kept focusing on the lilies, reading the water, and all of a sudden my arms began to move automatically, without thought, and I was able to see everything around me. I slowed my paddle for a moment and let the flow of the river carry me. I looked at the trees, the way their branches bent over the banks and how the leaves teased the water as they moved slowly with the cool wind. I listened to the water flow around me and as I looked up at the blue sky I spotted two bald eagles. I had never seen a bald eagle in the wild before and over my head flew two of them. I listened to their cry as it echoed around us.
When I walk through the woods I always look down. Its what my grandfather always told me to do. Look down so you see where you are going. On the water, I found myself looking up and around. I found myself looking ahead. I was actually looking up so much that my neck began to ache and as I lowered my head my eyes returned from a squint to a normal gaze. And that’s when I saw them. I saw the lilies. It was a bright white patch of flowers down and to the left of the river. I began to navigate myself the best I could to get over to them but the waters were low and it became rather rocky. I suddenly lost my balance and flipped! I laughed and laughed… the water felt so good against my sundrenched skin that I was kind of glad I flipped over. I hopped back on my kayak and carefully made my way over to the flowers that I was so focused on.
They were gorgeous and all of the rocks in the world wouldn’t have kept me from them. They were a beacon of light on that river, almost brighter than the sun in the sky. Their reflection in the glassy water made them look like a watercolor. It was peak season for these endangered beauties and they were blooming with all of their might. I was awestruck by the creation around me. Mother Nature was showing off that day and I have a feeling the God may have instructed her to do so. It was glorious.
The rest of the way down the river was a lot of fun and we really had a perfect outing aside from me misplacing a very valuable set of car keys… but that’s for another story. When we returned back home later that afternoon, I began thinking and comparing (as I always do) how traveling through the river was so similar to traveling through life. Sometimes the water is low and you have to work a little harder to get downstream. The current is weak and the rocks are dark, and hard to see. You have to figure out which way to paddle. You have to steer yourself around several obstacles in order to get to a place where you can just float. When your arms grow weak, just let Jesus take the paddle and guide you.
That’s when the lilies appear… the beacon. That light makes all of the darkness worth it.
Life is a river. You gotta keep paddling. Sometimes problems arise. You gotta get around it and through it. When you get tired of looking down look up, but whatever you do, don’t stop paddling.
Lucy Fuller is a lover of nature, animals, gardening, and old houses. She is a full time mother and wife. She currently resides in Dadeville with her husband, two daughters, 4 dogs, and cat. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.