This morning Kara (middle daughter) and I went to our favorite spot on the Yellow Breeches to get in a morning swim. We bring our tubes, set in a ways up from the main gathering spot, and then paddle further upstream to where the water is a bit deeper and one can actually swim. It was a perfect morning, hot and sunny, and full of interesting conversation. As we headed back downstream, we noticed several flotillas of tubes, friends and family ready to set off on long meanderings down the stream. These lazy river gatherings often include not only tubes of various colors and sizes, but floating coolers of beverage, and perhaps even a dog along for the ride (or swim).
This morning there was something new. An enterprising soul, dread locks a burnished orange, was launching a raft. Who knows where the actual raft came from? although Kara hazarded a guess that it was the top of some sort of dock. The owner had secured inner tubes to the front and back (bow and stern if you prefer) for additional buyoancy. A wooden crate was lashed to the floor of the raft, no doubt with sustenance inside, and by the time we reached our car, the craft was on the water. Paddling down the stream, lurching a tad from side to side, the adventurer was off! I had to smile. The creek was getting low, and I seriously doubted that this would be smooth sailing, but I had to love the sheer creativity of the guy. "I salute you", I said to the voyager, under my breath. "I salute you".
I walked to the back of the van to stash the tubes, and as I turned away from the car, once again I was stopped in my tracks. The mammoth trunk of a sycamore fig was planted squarely in my vision. The dappled beiges and greens and taupes created an exquisite mosaic of texture and color. I couldn't not respond. "I see you", I said to the tree. "I see you. You are beautiful. I notice."
I loved the movie "Avatar." I loved the beauty of the world and the gentleness of the people and the interconnectedness between the people and the world. I found it inspiring and thought-provoking. I also was struck by the phrase "I see you". The Na'vi spoke this to another as a way of showing that they noticed and understood and honored. I find myself wanting and willing to slow down and open my eyes and ears to what's around me - to be present to nature and the beings, human and animal that live on it with me. To notice, value and respond.
This morning, as I was out on the creek, surrounded by spreading trees and darting birds, legs dangling over a tube, head tilted back to see the beautiful sky, I couldn't help but say "Hooray for God!" Which, being interpreted, means,
"I see You."