Lately, only the true enthusiasts among us have been stretching our summer fun into these September weekends, and our destination is unanimous: it’s Blue Springs for everyone. A couple of days ago we learned that flag football had a rare Saturday off its schedule, so do you want to guess where most of us will be?
I am swimming in nature: taken by gentle current through aquatic springs life. The water’s not too deep along the run and it’s teeming with plants: some, streamer-like, undulating as the water moves across, others bushier. The spring run has a sort of path that’s clear to its sandy bottom; in parts it’s more profuse with vegetation so I swim overtop. I swim past fish of various types; they like plant life. The springs run is deeper in some spots, quite shallow in others. I can stand up and look around…and see that I really am in the middle of the woods. I don’t think about things like alligators or snakes. Why let fear creep in? The water is always moving, in a gentle current toward the point where Blue Springs run meets the Santa Fe River.
Blue Springs beckons me in a place that I feel more than hear. “Come,” it whispers, “My waters are for people like you. I am your natural resource, and I have nourished the earth for hundreds of years. I am yours to delight in, to swim, or kayak or canoe…come.”
When I am near special waters I feel this call. I can indulge it at Blue Springs. I can swim all the way to the Sante Fe, or I can go part way and swim back to the large headspring and park.
The return is like swimming upstream, and even with my fins and two strong arms it’s an invigorating experience. Unlike other springs I’ve visited recently, Blue Springs doesn’t cordon off its swimming area, leaving me hanging by the rope, only to gaze at the very river or stream that I long to explore. The entire park is maintained as naturally as possible, and I love it all the more for its natural state.
There are two smaller springs within walking distance, and a quarter-mile wooden walkway that’s set above and alongside the spring run that ends at the Santa Fe River. Many people enjoy the walk and love to fish the river. Tent campers stoke aromatic fires whose wood smoke wafts through the park all day long. It’s a low-key, rustic environment that truly evokes a yesteryear mood.
After a lifetime of being a girl without a sport, that’s all changed. I can be a snorkeler without living in a tropical locale! I can be a springs snorkeler and enjoy the visceral, and spiritual exhilaration of good, clean, clear and chilly water, bubbling up from its very source in the aquifer. With an underwater snorkel, I can dive down without it taking on water making for a deeper experience than merely floating along the surface. I yearn to be one with the water. As completely schmaltzy as that sounds it’s really how I’ve always felt when I’ve been in good waters: certain lakes, parts of the ocean, and now, the springs. I suppose this is how it feels when one has a favorite sport. And now, after all these years, I can finally claim my sport too. See? It’s never too late to grow into your true nature.