The Frio makes me ache in that beautiful, longing kind of way.
After the long hot drive, after lugging all our belongings into the quaint cabins, after greeting nearby family members, I face the river. Standing at the top, looking down on the crystal clear aqua colored water, a flush of emotions and memories flood my mind. My heart becomes situated somewhere between sweetly sad and intimately comforted when I stand and look at the Frio.
Matching swim suits.
Long floats down the river.
Fishing for tadpoles and minnows.
The year we discovered the dam downstream.
The tall cypress trees.
The perfect white rocks.
The cool clear water.
The sun during golden hour setting it all afire with honey colored warmth.
There’s something holy about nature. It knows more than we do. And I think coming back to the same spot for so many years serves my soul in ways I still don’t quite understand. Even in years when I felt far from God, even in years when I wished I was married, even in the years after the rose colored veil had been lifted from my eyes and I’d become acquainted with the tragedies of a life here on earth, the Frio stayed the same. No matter the year, 8 to 18 to 28, all I had to do was stand at the top and look down and that knowing peace of the river would flood my bones.
Do you have a place like this? That connects you to your heart no matter the time or space in between visits and no matter the life events transpired since your last stay there? I have a few. I’ll never forget my last memory of my grandfather, Gdad, before he passed away. We were at our family lake house on Lake Austin. It was Thanksgiving day and he was physically frail, sitting there in his wheelchair, but his presence still filled the circle of chairs around the fire. I was next to him, soaking in our time together, knowing he’d be gone soon, when his gaze slowly shifted out to the water and he quietly thought out loud: “Something about this place revitalizes.” He died two weeks later.
I’m so grateful for that last piece of reflection and wisdom from my Gdad. If ever I’m lost, I know all I need to do to be found is go outside. Outside, always, will be a space that connects me to my heart. From the day we’re born to the day we die, outside can always be a space of recluse and refreshing.
The Frio helps me to find my heart again. It’s well acquainted with it. That river has spoken to my heart at every age, and in the way it quietly says nothing, it will keep speaking to my heart so long as I go and visit.