By: Lara Colley, MHT/Group Facilitator, Transformations at Mending Fences
Today is about discovery.
We aim to discover things about ourselves and one another, and also about Florida’s unique springs ecosystem. Screams and laughter pierce the air as our adventure broker shoves each kayak into the turquoise water. Our boats drift in a crooked line downstream while the last few to launch paddle to catch up.
Right away we see a river otter, diving playfully in the crystal blue water. Everyone in our group gets a good look (there may have also been squeals) before it disappears in the eelgrass. The otter serves to remind us that we are here to play, too. We convene in the middle of the Rainbow River and set an intention for this perfect Easter morning.
“I’m going to relax and not think about anything.”
“I want to get some sun and not have bad thoughts in my head.”
“I just want to watch dragonflies and damselflies all day.”
“I want to not think about my problems today.”
A series of freshwater springs form the Rainbow River. The headwaters of the river arise from a collection of first-magnitude springs appropriately named Rainbow Springs. These natural springs pump out 400-600 million gallons of 72-degree, crystal clear water every day. Rainbow Springs is one of Florida’s largest springs and attracts tubers, divers, snorkelers and boaters, year-round.
As we paddle downstream, we let go of our anxieties, fears, regrets, and negative self-talk and embrace adventure, confidence, self-love, and skill-building. Today we discover that we can do things we are scared to do. We discover that we can have fun doing things that used to make us anxious. We discover that we have developed new skills to cope with uncertainty and fear. Today we discover that we are changed; we have evolved.
Further down the river, we pass abundant wildlife including wood ducks, cormorants, yellow-bellied sliders, mullet, swallow-tail kites, and even a yellow rat snake taking a swim. We see a red-tailed hawk snatch a wood duckling from its unsuspecting mother and fly off. We all cringe but also understand that nature can be brutal like that. We return from the trip restored, refreshed, renewed, and ready for a well-deserved rest. We will greet the week ahead with an open mind, a growth mindset, and a positive attitude.
To learn more about the programs at Transformations at Mending Fences, click HERE!