Water has always been my weak spot....well, one of them. I admit that I have many. It's funny how the same symptoms apply for both ends of the spectrum, in regards to how we respond to certain stimuli. Natural water sources turn me rigid - my mind goes cloudy, my muscles are taut, and an uncontrollable tremble takes over. I can scarcely breathe - often, the same physical responses we have to pleasurable circumstances. I remember I had the exact same reactions when I enjoyed my first kiss. This gave me an idea...
The mind is a hugely underestimated asset. It's so willing to accept suggestions, under the right circumstances; yet we often try to force it at all the wrong times instead of simply coaxing it at all the right times. For example, trying to quit smoking is difficult. To just shut out something that the body is used to, without an acceptable replacement, is an extremely difficult thing to do. My friend, the doctor, loves to tell people - If you want to stop smoking, start jogging. Damn - he's right! Now you're getting the need for oxygen and adrenaline to relieve stress, and it's far more powerful than what a cigerette can offer. So the point? Replace the values of what is being processed. For me, I need to replace the fear that keeps me out of the water with something that entices me to go in.
It's through this phenomenon that I was recently able to overcome my fear of murky water. I had to pick the perfect spot - summer was closing and I had not finally squashed one of my biggest annoyances. I'm not easily dominated, and I hate having to succumb to petrification. But, this - well... to love nature as much as I do - to explore and indulge in the beauty of Arkansas so much - it's just silly to be afraid of such things. And I like to push myself to "impossible" limits. It proves to me that I am much more capable than I think.
The place - Beaver Lake, a beautiful body of water nestled happily in the Ozarks, east of Rogers. There are sooooo many things to do here. filled with trails, bluffs, campsites, marinas... oh my, I could go on forever... Mother Earth could not have provided me with a lovelier battlefield to claim victory. The agenda for the weekend included camping (Yes, in a tent. Sorry, but RV's do NOT count in my book), rental of a boat, s'mores - and swimming.... In the lake...with the fish poop... and all of the unseen terrors lurking in the depths. *shudder*
After getting to our site at Lost Bridge North Park, we set up camp, and quickly got our bearings. True, we've been here before, but it was only to hike the Lost Bridge Trail - a 5 mile loop next to the lake. I highly reccommend this trail during the leaf off season. It's nicer to be able to see the true beauty of the area without all of the foilage. That's odd for me - I prefer the green of the trees, but this really does have some spectacular winter views. One of my most favorite memories was on that trail - during a freezing rain storm, with ice on the ground, a rock ledge offering about a 3ft clearance of shelter, and our own body heat being the only thing that kept us warm... sigh... oh, well - back to the water.
So, since I was in familiar territory, that already ushered in warm, fuzzy feelings, I had a feeling this would be a snap. Until I stuck my feet in the lake, that is. A lot can be said for the determination of a woman. Things were slow, and I was hesitant, but the water was beautiful - even I had to admit that. It was clear, and with every foot deeper that I got, I could still see the bottom. Having the promise of a reward well done, the visual enticement of my surroundings, and the warmth of another's body to cling to were all just enough to aid me to accomplishment. The water was nice, warm, and curious. Beautiful rocks could be found in its depths - seducing a risky plunge to the bottom. Long story short - I had a blast.
The weekend consisted of s'mores, scary stories under a starlit sky, "Catch the Stone" game with the local bats, jumps into the lake from 25ft bluffs, exploring the waters from a boat from Lost Bridge Marina (great price for a day of fun!!), and too many memories to count. One weekend, and I feel like I've been on a week long vacation.
I wonder where I'll end up next to scratch off my next weakness. Of course - not all of my weaknesses are bad ones. There are several I'd like to keep and succumb to on a regular basis...
Cheers! - and hope to see you on the trail