Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Terrifying Walk By A Torrential Florida Inlet

We didn't realize how dangerous our little stroll was about to become. Wanting a closer look at the inlet that took water from the Altantic into the Florida Intracoastal body of water, we ventured under a bridge on a narrow concrete path.

With the wall of the bridge on one side and a precipice overlooking the raging current on the other, we were sandwiched in on an unnervingly thin path, putting us in a very precarious situation.

A blast of air whooshed past our ears only matching the violent rush of water an uncomfortably close twelve feet below. The narrowing of the inlet increased the aquatic thrust to only race faster; much like the wind when you walk through a shop door, hair flying everywhere like the lady's on the logo of a Starbucks cup.

The water was deep; rocks and sand visible through its clear turquoise depths. Halfway in we were struck with a new terror that if anyone fell, they would be captured by the roiling river; no place to climb up for hundreds of feet. Rescue would be unlikely.
And here we were with one teenage girl and four young boys risking a treacherous plunge. I clutched my three-year-old's hand more tightly, knuckles whitened, as I realized

There Were No Guardrails!!


This was a sidewalk that went from the parking lot under a bridge, to a public beach, next to a horizontal version of Niagara Falls and there was no guardrail??? 

Do I scoop up my child and risk losing my own balance with us both falling in? My husband is at the end of the single file line of our family of 7, so I'm on my own to protect the children closest to me. I was experiencing a new definition of fear. Like a waterfall, the mom-words spilled out:

Be Careful!
Don't get too close to the edge!
Watch Your step. 
Not too fast!
Use your head!
Hold my hand tight!
That rip tide could carry you off to Cuba before you could ever cry, "help"!

Finally, we made it safely to the end of the walkway on to the shore side, away from the rushing ocean as the tiny path opened to the wide beachhead.

-------------------------------
Nearly 15 years have passed since that scary stroll.  A while ago, I noticed the city had widened that path and put up rails. Who knows how many people toppled into the raging tide before the rails were added?

After railings were added.

Surprisingly, I  find myself in a similar situation.

My three year old is now seventeen. He is the last one going to college, but the trepidation is no less great despite the brothers going before him. It is heightened in fact, as I release him to the world and the college campus and realize...

He Has No Guardrails!


He has taken them down. 

Where once he had a firm faith in God, he looks now to the 'common sense' of an adolescent.  Where he once lead others to follow character, and virtue, he has discarded them for a more open set of mores.

And I can't hold his hand tightly anymore.

Or scoop him up in my arms.

Or keep him from falling into the perilous cultural current; the troubled waters he walks so closely by

Without guardrails.

Oh, I can preach!

Be Careful!
Don't get too close to the edge!
Watch Your step. 
Not too fast!
Use your head!
That surge could sweep you somewhere you never intended to go, before you could ever cry, "help!"

He may choose to listen.

Or not.

I can only hope and pray he makes it to the open beachhead safely.
 






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