The promised land has always been here and may be forever.
It's the salt marsh preserved by wise elders. Morning by morning, its magic still claims us. In the clear quiet, a kayak slips from a preserved canopy into cool unruffled water. First strokes sculpt the calm. Breeze stirs the tang. A pause for deep breath lifts your head upward. In the soft early light, fewest puffy pillows whiten crystal blue sky. Silence releases you. The work week gives way to thoughts about children and grandchildren, about everyone now young who can also experience these gifts.
The kayak glides close to high Spartina grass. A blue heron who hoped to shun you instead sounds a loud crackle, lifts from the marsh, banks a slow turn and heads to another perfect breakfast spot. You smile, captured by another perfect morning. How easily we re-awaken when paddling the nature preserves that, all four near each other, encompass the Jacksonville Intracoastal Salt Marsh Paddling Trail.
Ospreys, fiddlers, and egrets, oh my! No better place exists. We live here. We're home.
• Warren Anderson, Jr. and Herb Hiller