Last month we went to LEGOLAND with Nathan and Meagan and we had such a great day together. (I wrote about it here.That post also includes one of the world’s funniest pictures.)
I was especially amazed by the water skiing show that we watched .I kept on waiting for them to call me out of the audience to participate in one of their simple little water skiing maneuvers but for some odd reason, the call never came. Oh well. Maybe next time.
As the five of us were meandering our way through the theme park, we happened upon the Cypress Gardens area of LEGOLAND. You can just imagine my happy surprise when I discovered this unexpected treasure because as much as I love the energy of a whole lot of people having a whole lot of fun, my personality has always thrived on quietness and solitude.
I took just one step into the Gardens area and that was it. I was immediately entranced.
As the family and I walked around enjoying all there was to see, Sarah took some time to chat up a new friend. (Although the new friend did not seem to be in an overly chatty mood.)
After we’d all wandered around for a few more minutes, the rest of the crew decided that they were going to go grab some lunch before the start of the ski show.
I begged off.
I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving that place. I couldn’t bear the thought of trading all that God-crafted beauty for plastic dinosaurs, busy roller coasters, and overpriced Slushies. So I told them to just order a sandwich for me and I would eat it during the ski show.
And then suddenly, I was alone.
Now being alone may not seem all that incredible in the grand scheme of things but you have to remember that I was smack dab in the middle of a popular theme park in an area largely peopled by hundreds of thousands tourists. But for the entire forty-five minutes I was in the garden area, I did not see one other person. Not one. I could just barely hear people in the distance as they yelled on the rides but other than that, I felt as though that serene corner of creation had been reserved just for me
I was in heaven.
I walked. I sat. I listened to silence. I took pictures. I inhaled air fragranced with flowers. And as my heart rate slowed, as I breathed in the blissfulness of time alone in such an Edenic environment, I felt this weird impulse that I should apologize to God.
I wanted to say, “God, you did a really magnificent job of making this sky and this grass and these trees and the flowers and that Banyan tree and the streams and the lake and the river. I’m sorry that people are a lot more interested in garish, man-made, mechanical doodads than in all the amazing things You’ve created. I just want you to know that I am one of the greatest fans of your work and I want to thank you for making the world–and especially this particular part of the world–so very beautiful.”
Now I do realize that making entire cities out of Legos, and designing and building roller coasters are impressive things, too—they require creativity and skill and gifts that are also God-given. And I get that.
But yet the whole time I was strolling through those acres and acres of glory, I continued to wonder why God’s brilliance was ignored while man’s brilliance was enjoyed. Hence, the urge to apologize to the Maker of all things, followed by a few words of immense and heartfelt appreciation.
But enough of all that. Sometimes, when beauty is being talked about, words just get in the way. So I’ll go ahead and share with you a few images from that solitary hour, a period of time which actually turned out to be the most enjoyable part of my whole Florida trip.
Banyan Trees and Cedar Knees
Cypress Gardens was built around just one tree, a banyan tree which was planted from a small seedling in 1939. It was amazing to see how large and complex that tree has become with its roots and branches and limbs stretching out in dozens of directions. It was a study in complexity and grace and grandeur.
I loved how flowers nestled right within its branches.
These are called cypress knees.
A statue of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. This was a perfect place for him to hang out.
There were rivers and lakes . . .
and there were wings against the sky.
And there was this really cool gazebo.
When I first saw it in the distance, I wasn’t sure if there was any way to get close to it.
I was delighted to find that there was.
A little more meandering . . .
down a few more paths . . .
and it was time for me to leave. But I will never forget those moments spent in that heavenly place; I will never forget how that little window of time smoothed away the rough and frazzled places of my soul.
And the only thing I could think of to say as I left that oasis and rejoined the rest of the world was, “God. Your creativity, your beauty did not go unnoticed. And I just want to say thank you.”