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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wekiva Run

“If you have ever come on a dense wood of ancient trees that have risen to an exceptional height, shutting out all sight of the sky with one thick screen of branches upon another, the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, your sense of wonderment at finding so deep and unbroken a gloom out of doors, will persuade you of the presence of a deity.” Seneca, Letter 41

Today, my family skipped church. Or perhaps, to put it better, we exchanged one church for another. A church of bricks for a church of wood. A church with walls for a church with sky. Our worship music was pounding feet and beating hearts, our prayers were gasping breaths and drops of sweat.

Okay, I know that first paragraph probably sounds a little cheesy, but I did mean it. There is something religious about being out in nature, and Wekiva Springs is one of the few places in Florida where nature is still around. When you drive to the park, you’re greeted by the motto “this is the real Florida”. Sadly, the motto is a lie. “Real” Florida is made up of developments and theme parks, not nature preserves. But it is a kind of Florida – the Florida that used to be. And it’s a wonderful reminder of the beauty of a state best known for Disney and being hot.

The run took us through wooded areas, where the trail was bordered by pine trees, palms, and creeping vines. At some places, the trail is washed away, a reminder that nature can win out over progress. Other parts of the trail go through Florida brush lands, a unique kind of habitat that is home to several threatened and endangered species that can’t live anywhere else.

The best part of running at Wekiva is, of course, the spring itself. Always an even 72F (22 C), the spring is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making a plunge into it the perfect way to end a run.

So, for those of you wondering why I wasn’t at church today, now you know. After all, as the semi-nomadic congregation of OCC knows, God’s church is wherever His people happen to be.


Andrew said...

Hey, Wekiwa Springs is right around the corner from where my parents live (and where I lived when I was a wee one). It really is an amazing place -- banana spiders the size of your head! and the springs!

Emma said...

Saw some of those. Would you like to weigh in on the Wekiva/Wekiwa debate?