Okay, I admit that that Paradise claim might seem a bit hyperbolic, but if Paradise means the state we are in when we come face to face with God, well, it's here on this beautiful stretch of the Hudson that I feel closest to my Creator, the source of great goodness out of which all this exquisite natural beauty arises. When I'm here, I find it easy to pray, and my prayer is simply, "Thank You."
Thank You for the moss-draped, deep-shaded boulders that line the shore, and the dark-green fragrant forest that rises behind them.
Thank You for the wide blue sky, the stately pines, and the sun that warms the banks where the flowers thrive.
Thank You for the brilliant berries that offer a feast for my eyes as well as food for birds and other creatures. Thanks, too, for the rippling waters that amplify the shoreline's beauty in reflections.
Thank You for the mosses and vines that brighten the banks and soften the rocks' hard edges.
Thank you for the seeds that store the promise of next summer's flowers. (These handsome pods hold the seeds of Great St. Johnswort, a gorgeous flower that thrives on one of these islands.)
Thank You for the dark shade of the woods and the golden light of the lowering sun that caused this Winterberry bush to just explode into glory.
Here, my prayer fell silent. I simply breathed Yes! with every breath, and sat with the river's stillness.