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A few weeks I bought myself a bathing suit.  This was the first proper suit I’d owned in over 20 years and I put a lot of thought into it.  I had to; in the years since I’d last purchased swimming attire the suits seem to have shrunk.  They are now apparently fit on women who are no taller than 5’2″ and whose weight does not exceed one hundred pounds.  After I’d squeezed myself into suit after suit, Mr. B. advised me that this was a “look.”  Not on this bod, I said, and I went back to the rack.

I finally found a professional suit meant for serious swimming and not for people like me who do not put their heads under water and who most of the time wrestle with a pool noodle at the apartment complex.  I paid quite a bit for this suit and it has served me well, until I decided to wear it to Rainbow Springs instead of changing into it at Rainbow Springs.  I might have just packed the suit into my bag and used the facilities at the springs to change, but this seemed like an extra step.

We drove right into a severe thunderstorm that had fired just north of Dunnellon.  I will admit that I wanted to turn around, but we plowed ahead into a festival of lightning.  That’s a lot of lightning, I said.  Yes, it is, Mr. B. agreed, which let me know that it was not just a lot of lightning, but a lot of lightning to a Floridian.  That made it quite a lot of lightning.  I refused to pull over and as I passed a car that had, Mr. B. noted that I could always stop if the weather was too treacherous to safely drive.  That’s a girl, I snapped, my jaw set hard and my teeth clenched.  The rain was as heavy as you get and the car started to hydroplane.  More lightning banged down.  There was a minor contretemps in the car as I argued that no one would be at the springs during such a storm (I was wrong) and Mr. B. pointed out my tendency to turn around and drive in directions opposite to a storm.

We went to a Wal-Mart before the springs, and when we came out the storm had passed.  If I don’t tell you that I bought a pair of steel-toe rubber boots for the possible oil tsunami, then Mr. B. will make me edit this post to confess.  What else do you need to buy for your evacuation supplies? he asked me.

Batteries, I answered.  Batteries, a Mag light that is made the way Mag lights used to be made, and dog food.  There’s some other stuff as well, like gift certificates to Hyatt Regency hotels and a Dynamax Dynaquest RV, but I left those off the immediate list because they are not sold at Wal-Mart and to introduce them at this time would have been not only incongruous but completely useless.

We knew the minute that we drove into the parking lot at the springs that the storm had only driven the crowds out of the water and not out of the park.  They were looming and swarming.  They were barbecuing, smoking, splashing, crashing, and walking dogs and themselves where there weren’t supposed to.  The dock was filled with kids cannonballing and diving and in general pushing and shoving, while an ineffectual teenage lifeguard blew his whistle every minute or so in a futile attempt to stop the ongoing infractions.

Mr. B. and I looked at each other and decided not to bother trying to go into the water.  The stairs into the springs were a log jam of people and in order to enjoy the water, you’d have had to make your way into the middle of it, which was just too far.

Instead, we walked over to look at the rental kayaks.  Yesterday, Mr. B. signed us up–yep, me too–to go on a kayak demonstration with an Ocala store that is selling some fancy models Mr. B. has had his eye on.  Mr. B. wanted to get a look at what Rainbow Springs was renting.  They’d already shut up shop by the time we got there, so while Mr. B. looked at the plastic boats I looked at a guy who was wading in some reeds a few feet from a sign that said there was no wading in the reeds.  On the dock, a couple of his friends asked him what he was doing.

Ahm’a trine t’find me allee-gators or snakes, he said.

He and his friends briefly discussed the possibility of a kayaker offering them the use of a boat for a while (We could jes’ ask someone if we could use their boat) and then they gave up and moved off.  So did we; I thought it might be nice to see the waterfalls even as more thunder started rumbling in the distance.  We walked back past the springs and past the visitor center and then we headed down paved walkway towards the waterfalls.

Suddenly, I was too hot.  This was beyond just the humidity and the 93-degree temperature.  No, this was different.  I felt as if I were boiling on the inside and that my body couldn’t breathe.  I became soaked with sweat and I felt as if I couldn’t get any air.  It was the bathing suit, so I attempted a bit of a striptease right there on the path.  I struggled to get my arms out of the suit so that I could pull it to waist level, but I only succeeded in getting one arm out when I inadvertently yanked my t-shirt up to neck level in an attempt to get the other arm out.

There was nothing for it but to leave.  This is always the best solution and I learned that from my father so I come by it honestly.  In the semi-privacy of my car, I could peel off the suffocating suit and try to cool off.  I got the suit off, but it took hours to cool down.  We came back to my apartment complex and jumped into the pool that was as hot as piss and we floated on our noodle, marveling that such a lightweight thing could hold a combined weight of over 300 pounds.

A typical Florida summer sky.

Sure! This looks like a great day to go to the springs.  Forward march!

We stopped in Dunnellon to see the river before we headed back to the springs.

It’s crepe myrtle time in Florida.

I have a wobbly theory that if the birds have come out of hiding, you can walk from your car into a store without too much worry about lightning strikes.  The same holds true for cows.

I am sure that some springs devotees will tell me this was not crowded at all, but Mr. B. and I are more solitary types and we don’t like being mauraded by neighbors.   We can get enough of that at my apartment complex.

Rainbow Springs is for lovers.

A serious swimmer…

…and someone just learning to swim. 

Perhaps he will find an anaconda.