Tag Archives: Manatee Springs

River Party

I am about to get crazy busy. In just four weeks, I will be leaving for the Florida Folk Festival. Two days ago, our yearly huge order of blanks arrived. I started pre-washing them yesterday. I continued that task today, while also beginning to put things into pre-soak. Pre-soaking is something that must be done while the sun shines, so I couldn’t waste this lovely day. There are two more sunny days in the forecast this week, so I will be pre-soaking tomorrow and the next day, too. Then comes the tying and the dyeing and the rinsing and the washing and the drying and the folding and the stuffing into bins.

I will be working long hours for the next few weeks, so I’m glad I had a chance to relax at a low-key festival this past weekend. It was the Old-fashioned River Party in Manatee Springs State Park. The festival was just Saturday, but we camped Friday night and Saturday night. Even with a portable hot spot, I couldn’t get internet access, so I was unplugged for nearly three days. Once I accepted the fact that I could not update my games, I had a lovely time just reading, singing and enjoying the great outdoors.

My husband had been working on his second handmade kayak for years and he was really pushing in recent weeks because he wanted to have it finished in time for this festival. Manatee Springs has a boat ramp and crystal clear water, so kayaking is a favorite activity there. We brought his first kayak there a couple of years ago and I had a chance to paddle a little bit, but I didn’t go far because I didn’t know what I was doing and I was alone on the water.

This time there were two kayaks, so my husband and I were able to go paddling together. That made a huge difference. I still didn’t know what I was doing but he was right there to help me learn. I will admit that I was nervous at first, but I made a conscious decision to put my fear aside so I could enjoy the delightful new experience. It didn’t take long to learn how to use the paddle to control my direction and speed. The morning was calm and we had the springs to ourselves. We paddled out to the Suwannee River, circled a small island there and then paddled back to the boat ramp in Manatee Springs.



It was heavenly. I don’t think my husband is going to be able to go kayaking without me any more. I am absolutely hooked.

Sunday morning, I decided I wanted to try to use the paints I had brought with me. My husband wanted to get most of the pack-up done early, so I missed the morning light, but I finally escaped about 10:30 and took my supplies up to the sinkhole I had spied out earlier. It’s a favorite spot for scuba diving. The surface of the water is covered with light green duckweed and the dark water shows through in places where divers have disturbed the weeds.

Florida Sinkhole

Florida Sinkhole

Painting the sinkhole was an ambitious plan. Way too ambitious, as it turned out. That’s okay, though. I learned a whole lot while I was working on it. I learned how many things I can comfortably carry along a woodland trail and how much flat space I need to set them all out and work with them. I learned how fast acrylic paints dry in the hot sun, even when there’s a Sta-Wet palette involved. I learned how hard it is to work quickly, especially when there are people around asking questions.

These are important things to know and now I know them.