Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Floating in Manatee Springs

Monday March 19, 2012
Manatee Springs State Park Site 84



FRIDAY-very hot for mid March.  88 whew!

I wonder what July will be like.  David goes to get the Velcade shot and then up to Tampa for a CT scan .  He watches NCAA Basketball when he gets back including Duke getting beat in its first game.  We had to laugh.  He’s not sleeping well.  His lower back hurts.  He says it feels like a disc.  Can anything else go wrong?



Saturday we hang around the site to avoid the last hurrah of the spring breakers.

But there’s really no where to hide.  The nice quiet folks next to us left today and a party moved in with booming bass.  I always wonder why folks come out into the quiet woods or go to the ocean shore and then blare their boom boxes.  Or in this case, car radios.   Do they really think everyone within a mile wants to hear their music??


I escape to the grocery store.


When I return,  I read Shadow Country aloud while David makes a carrot cake with cashew cream icing.  We have BBQ’d tempeh, oven fries and broccoli for dinner to give us an excuse to eat the cake for dessert.  I wonder, are we eating too many soybeans?

Quiet time is not until 11:00 here but there is no camp host to enforce it anyway so the party rocks on.  I use ear plugs.  David says they won’t stay in his ears. 


Sunday they all leave and so do we.


We arrive at Manatee Springs for our “vacation” about 5:15.  David is feeling so tired without sleep that the ordeal of packing up, and driving wears him out.  I will do the set up tomorrow.   He is really hoping to just hit the sofa with his feet up and NCAA Basketball on the TV.   But it turns out that for reasons unknown, this park, about 6 miles outside of Chiefland Florida has very limited TV service, almost no Verizon cell service and very sketchy Verizon internet.   We get only ABC which is not carrying any of the tournament unfortunately.  Oh yes and FOX – not a chance.


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But our site # 84 is lovely.






Monday morning….

David has slept even worse and so when I see him fall asleep sitting up at the dinette, I slip out of the house and go for a walk around the campground.  I should be running but it makes too much noise for me to get ready and get all the gear – heart rate monitor, running watch, hat, sunglasses.  Or at least that’s my excuse.


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The campground is just the way I like it, very lightly populated.  We are lucky to have a site that has only one site next to it and lots of open space on the other side and in the back of the site which since we pulled Winnona in for the view, is actually the front for us.  




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The duckies and we have a good view.






I love being out in the early morning before everyone else.

I take the trail to the spring.  The spring is gorgeous.  Natural, the way a spring should be.  I think the state parks of Florida are much smarter than the county in charge of Lithia Springs.   Look at that water, so blue.  And so clear that you can see the rocks with green moss on them in the foreground.  They are actually about 3 feet down through this crystal clear water.  The sun is very harsh making it hard to take pictures.  This place looks pristine.  I wish the entire Earth were still pristine.  Wouldn’t we all be healthier??  And happier??


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I walk to the head and look down the spring run.  You cannot kayak the run until after March 31.  From November 1st to March 31st the manatee have the run all to themselves.   But this year has been so warm I doubt there have been any manatee here since January.   They are all still in the warm rivers.


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I stay for a while, just enjoying the beauty and thinking about how abruptly our life has changed.  How we had no clue.  How we would have started full timing much earlier had we known and not been so afraid that we would not have enough money to do it.  That we should wait for that magical retirement age set by someone else.  I determine not to be sad.  But to come back in the afternoon and swim in this beautiful place.  Submerge myself in its healing waters.


And later in the day I take the plunge.



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The water is 73 degrees and wonderful.  I float with ease.  Looking up at the green leaves, blue sky and white clouds.  What a glorious place.  Spring Equinox is a time of balance.  The days and nights are equal.  I need to balance my cares and joys so that they are at least equal.  Floating in the water relaxes me.  It makes me happy.  I hope David will be able to come in soon.  Perhaps it will rejuvenate him too.


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I float on.







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and on.  I am a spec in the water, in the universe.






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I am  the water.  I could do this forever.







It restores my soul.   I’ll be here again tomorrow and every day until we leave.  I am so glad we have come here.

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  1. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I too will be getting in this spring. Just might be the lift I need.

  2. I'm sorry you both have such a burden to bare... I can understand how the float would be so refreshing, but might be a bit too cool for me. And how did you get those pictures?

  3. great pictures ..it looks like your in a very nice spot to relax and enjoy..I hope David feels rejuvenated soon...you amaze me

  4. What a great, thoughtful blog. Once again wish there were something magic to say or do to be helpful and kind..

  5. I'm catching up again and can't decide which I like more -- the nature pictures or the food pictures. Both are wonderful. You two could start an RV catering business on the side! I envy your swim, Sherry. Looks lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  6. So glad you are there, Mama!! Looks beautiful. Gorgeous water :) I SO wish I were there too - truly - I will need to be making some plans for a trip soon. Missing you and hoping Dad is resting and peaceful!

  7. Hang in there you two. Hope this week off restores you both. I'm sure hugs from D and T, and N and B will help. Virtual hugs from us. {{{{Hugs}}}}
    Syl and Gin

  8. Manatee Springs is beautiful. We camped there years ago when we didn't bring computers with us on vacation so we didn't care about the internet. It's different when you full time, though.
    We retired early for just the very thing you mentioned. My mother died of breast cancer at age 52 and you just never know what's in store.

  9. Spring breakers are such a nuisance, but at least now you have a peaceful place to stay for awhile.

  10. Your writing is beautiful, Sherry. It's so "from the heart". I wish there was something I could do to make your burden less.

  11. I think the effort of not being sad might wear me out. You must also be angry sometimes, too, yeah?

    Cashew icing? That sounds pretty great. How does David make that?

  12. We visited Manatee Springs January 1.It's about 20 minutes from Otter Springs. So peaceful and pretty. No manatees then either. I admire your strength.

  13. I love that spring, Sherry. I have never been in it, however, and just loved seeing you there, rejuvenating. Equinox, oh my. I nearly forgot> I like your thought about balancing.

  14. Finding balance can be difficult. However, you seem too be doing it fairly well:o))

    Float on my friend...

  15. Hang in there, both of you. I hope David will feel better with his off week. Is there anything the doctors can give him to help him sleep?

    Hopefully David will be able to enjoy the water too.

  16. Such peaceful pictures of you in the spring...tripod?

    I'm wondering if David would have heard you get your running gear on if he fell asleep sitting up at the table! Poor thing :)

  17. Very much a place to rejuvenate. Hopefully the "vacation" from treatment will help boost David's flagging energy. None of us know what stumbling blocks life is going to throw our way. Experiences like the one you and David are having confirm our decision to retire early and make the most of what we have now. Sure we'll have to make compromises for not having income from the additional years of work, but we'll have experiences that will be far more enriching.

  18. Sherry you are a natural writer. I continue to send good wishes, prayers and thoughts to you and David. Hope we can meet up soon!

  19. So glad you are in a beautiful, peaceful place...I hope David gets some rest and can go for a swim...your blog was so beautifully written it brought tears to my eyes. Hang in there, David...Love and prayers for you both...

  20. Sherry and David - don't tire in this terrible battle... do refresh yourself in the water.. and in your books, and in your creativity in the kitchen. Frustration.. and anger.. are normal emotions when dealing with this.. for both of you. And then... onward and upward with the fight. Your site is beautiful this time. We went to Manatee Springs when Roger was at the Univ of Fla.. I see it is still beautiful. Hope VA is in your sites by the time summer hits in Florida. VA is so beautiful in the summer.. and fall... and spring..

  21. What a beautiful spot and what a beautiful blog. I'm so glad you are there and I hope David is able to sleep and partake in the restorative waters. (You wouldn't have this if you returned to Charlottesville.)

    It makes my heart ache to read your moving account of what you're both going through right now. My thoughts are with you.
    Much,much love.

  22. Love Manatee Springs, we never got there when it was warm enough to swim. A couple of recommendations - if they might help David's back -Chiropractic- Dr. Lisa Long,813-930-6112. Massage- Michael Eggelston -813 254 0054-Catherine practiced with Michael and was a patient of Dr. long's. Hang in there and let the cool springs rejuvenate your spirit.

  23. Glad you're able to enjoy the moment. Nature really can do wonders. Hang in there.

  24. What a spot! I could really use some refreshment in those waters as well. I'm sitting on the train back from Alexandria to C-ville right now, trying to enjoy the view of the beautiful countryside and forget the stress of the day...and the next. Glad you all have the breath of creation to give you fresh energy each day. Enjoy the cleansing float-time in the spring...... LOVE YOU GUYS!

  25. Love the floating pics - how rejuvenating! Enjoy every last second.

  26. Your post is beautiful Sherry. Life can be so cruel at times. And yet I admire your ability to continue to see the beauty in the midst of such turmoil. Continue to fight the good fight my friends. We're all behind you.


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