Caddo Lake: Take a moment

There’s magic in every sunrise. The aesthetic beauty of light bending and reflecting through layers of  gaseous atmosphere paints with ever-shifting brush strokes of reds and purples. Each shutter captures differing images of this short-lived, quickly changing, and tricky to capture light. It feels as though time slows as each breath becomes sweeter than the next. I get lost in these slow, peaceful moonlit moments of solitude.

Standing in Caddo Lake State Park, I’m the audience to natures theater, the curtain of this new day is lifting.Gentle light settles upon a climbing trail leading to a large CCC pavilion. The CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corp, was a work relief program that offered jobs to young men during the Great Depression. With little more than shovels, and pick axes, they built most of the roads and shelters in our State and National Parks. This was a different time, a time when structures weren’t built in a day. When the woods were your lumbar yard, and the earth your rock quarry.Caddo Lake Pavilion

I could have easily daydreamed the morning away. However,  we had a reservation to ride what is likely the last wood burning, steam-powered, stern, paddle wheel touring boat in the world. In this day and age of cheap theme parks, I’m always apprehensive. Would this be no more than a modern pontoon boat with a stationary fake paddle wheel and a smoke machine puffing clouds of deception through a faux smoke stack?  Would left over animatronics from the remodeling of “Disney’s It’s A Small World After All”,  bust into a semi- broken and sad musical number that makes no historical since? Was this a tourist trap? You won’t take me alive!

Approaching the Graceful Ghost my fears were quickly laid to rest. She was beautiful!  As her boiler hissed, the sound of steam  caused my grin to crack a smile.I love old tech, and this was the cutting edge of engineering and science in the 1800’s. Like a kid in a candy shop, I gazed upon the mechanics of this marvelous vessel.Graceful Ghost at dock

Oil cans sat next to so many  pivots and joints. Each squeaked with individual pitch and tone, as instruments to the mechanical symphony of this beautiful ship. Why didn’t I wear my Cornel Sanders Tuxedo? Oh yeah it’s 102 in the shade.ShoreOn Texas’s only natural lake Lauren and I watched the shore line slowly slip by, as our captain shared local history and a bit of humor. Full Steam Ahead, we accelerated to the 1800’s break-neck speed of 6 knots. This  was the 1800’s version of Fast and The Furious.Caddo Lake reflection

Surrounded by the mystical beauty of Caddo Lake, the slow, hissing rhythm of the Graceful Ghost reminded me of the morning sunrise and the CCC Pavilion.We’ve made significant advancements since the 1800’s but, I fear we’ve lost something’s as well. I’m  obsessed with  proficiency, and multitasking, yet Art rarely happens quickly.  At 6 knots this amazing vessel transported us through the world’s largest Cypress Grove. At 6 knots, I realized slowing down is a life choice. Time taken to put away the technology, listen to the birds, see nature, and experience life is certainly not time wasted.

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