Here There be Gators?

  Rock springs is a beautiful place.  The sounds of the aquatic flow could lull even the most nervous heart into a semblance of peace.  The water clarity as pure as any glacier….Truly this is a beautiful place….

Then what is wrong with me?  I’ve been here before…..I’ve written poetry about it….

(To feel weightless to glide, unfettered through clear space…. puffs of sand shooting up at each choppy stroke… beauty without compare…
A slow heartbeat…. the water an open invitation…. shells and grass mix in a sweet, uncertain dance…. tranquility abounds…
Many swift glances… peace appears in the icy blue… nothing to fear within this perpetual rejuvenation…. the flow is endless…
drifting slowly away… the sight remains in mind’s eye… Always there with a caressing waltz of liquidity… sweet, eternal spring….)

As the poem says, it was beautiful beyond compare, however something more sinister entered my mind….What if there were alligators there?  Now, this question is a bit multilayered.  This is Florida where alligators outnumber sun rays on a 2 to 1 basis…Anddddd this was fresh water so logic says…Florida+fresh water+nervous thoughts=giant alligators!  Nevermind that I had happily floated down this particular spring run before and searched quite liberally underwater….(That’s possibly my biggest fear…to be looking about mindlessly underwater and have something rise out of the blue in my face…shudder) The point is, this is a well used park with many happy people and near pristine conditions and nothing bad ever happens in those places does it??? (Yellowstone…bears…etc)  Well, we jumped in without tubes because I remember how easy it was to just swim down this particular run (when I was younger!!!)  And at first we were exploring rocky ledges which honestly, couldn’t have been more enchanting….The water was rushing and each rock contained one more little shining trasure…Then we went under the bridge and the vegetation arrived like a shimmering, underwater jungle…

 It started off as rocks on one side and grass on the other…But soon the spring became a narrow shoot of cool clear water racing between dense mats of flora…And then the paranoia set its hooks deep within me….For now, every lovely grotto or dip in the river was haunted by the shadows of my fear…With every breathless, dolphin like surface, I looked around and saw nothing…Yet I saw everything…Snakes were lying in the weeds, alligators were curled up on banks and deeper holes were filled with animals not found outside of any reasonable nightmare….They were all there…except they were not….My heart was beating out a frantic rhythm as the water raced around one last curve and then…. quicker than it started we were at the take out.  Thirty minutes of my life had passed before my eyes in a true adrenaline rush….I climbed out a bit shakily to my children already asking to do it again…Did we go back down?  We did so immediately, and I am happy to report that the fear remained:)  I suppose in the end, the fear and warning signs were a good thing.  I felt alive and responsible for mine and my children’s safety.  I certainly don’t know what I would have done had an alligator appeared in my mask, but I do know one thing.  Here there were not gators…..this time.

David L Whitman 03/18/12 from under a sky so blue…


4 thoughts on “Here There be Gators?

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