It was my birthday weekend – what girl doesn’t deserve a whole weekend to celebrate a birthday anyway? The weather’s migrating towards more seasonal temps and the kids (well, er, two of them) had Friday off from school so we made a last minute decision to dash out to our favorite springs in Florida, Blue Springs Park in Gilchrist County.
A couple of friends were called in so that the trip wouldn’t be a disaster of boredom with just the ‘rents (god, we’ve become The Parents; no longer the bringers of good times; now, friends are needed to save the day, but no matter, the more the merrier.) Snacks haphazardly thrown together, along with a mess of beach towels, swim fins and masks and snorkels and oh! the camera and film gear, too, as my colleague Nick Lulli and I had a bit of an agenda. We’re making a video of Blue Springs. More on that later.
I’d actually forgotten about my desire to swim free in Naked Spring until we pulled into the park. I remembered, then gasped so loudly that everyone thought something bad had just happened. It was just that I realized that that this was going to be my moment if there ever was one. It was a Friday afternoon in May; park guests were few and my husband was along. Remember, he’s not much for the springs but today I’d insisted, in spite of a last minute offer of some Players Championship tickets (with him, there’ll always be a reason not to go to the springs). It was my birthday weekend after all.
You have to know that I’m a modest girl by nature. But when I saw Naked Spring and swam it last fall, it was obvious that it was made for skinny dipping. A little, secluded gift from God set back far enough into the woods, with an approach long enough to give a girl enough time to pull on her swimsuit if she’s got a proper lookout. And the the only proper lookout for me is the husband.
When our kid-crammed vehicle pulled into the park and I saw how quiet it was, with divine weather I suddenly I knew that today was the day. I startled them all with my spontaneous outburst and I had to whisper to the husband lest they all find out but in the end, they did. My kids, their friends, they all seemed to know what I’d done despite the fact they were occupied in Big Blue a ways away from Naked.
When I heard the rumor was that I’d gone over to Naked Spring to swim with other people naked I decided to just tell them all the truth and be done with it. The last thing I need is someone’s mom getting the wrong idea, you know. If anyone can’t see the beauty and exhilaration of a free swim in a secluded spring surrounded by trees and perfectly private, well, then they’re missing an absolutely fun and wonderful opportunity to do something a just a little unconventional (for me, it was). I am proud to say I did it and I’d do it again if I could.
I told the kids straight up, to halt the misinformation, and after that they all carried on with their own big fun: jumping off the platform,
snorkeling, and watching that incredible water move in a current along the spring run to the Sante Fe River.
Blue Springs, Naked Springs? It’s going to be a great summer. I’ll see you next time.