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Pontoon Paradise

Updated: May 12, 2021

I live less than fifteen minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. And I will admit that I sometimes take for granted the grandeur of what I have on my virtual doorstep. But it’s experiences like those I experienced this past month that remind me how to discover a little slice of heaven in that place we call home.

My son turned eighteen last month. When people say that life passes you in the blink of an eye? Yeah, that. It’s true. I don’t know where the time went between reading bedtime stories to my son as a toddler to him becoming a young man.

For his 18th birthday, we rented a pontoon boat for the day and took it out onto the Indian River. Our son, the newest adult in our family, served as captain of our vessel. He drove the entire day while my wife and I sat back and watched the sights go by. But it was more than just seeing. So much more. The feel of the wind hitting your face, the way it took your breath away, and the simple aura of being on the water provided a perspective that helped me appreciate just how much there is to explore, even in our own metaphorical backyard, and even when it has nothing to do with sights and sounds, and more to do with what’s going on in our thoughts.

We saw pelicans and dolphins. We smelled the earthy water. We felt the rush of adrenaline while skipping over tiny whitecaps in the river. But it was the overall ambiance and feeling of gratitude that overcame me from the entire experience that remains with me long after we docked our boat and returned to land.

There were these ideas tumbling through my mind as we passed this old boat abandoned on an island. It was simultaneously beautifully artistic and strikingly thought-provoking. It’s easy to leave our boat docked on that same island. It’s predictable and certain. We know what we’re getting. And that’s when serendipity greeted me with a different message. What a grand adventure awaits, if only we decide to venture away from the safety of those shores.


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