In singing waters; in silent waters.

Written on 13 January 2013.

We are holidaying in Cairns.

What enchanted me upon first sight were the tall mountains overlooking the coastal lowlands. Green mountains covered in pristine, burgeoning tropical rainforest. This part of Australia is verdant green with no brown. Having lived in dry, mostly brown landscape for the last 10 years — even the southernmost portions of the nation are green mixed liberally with brown — this is a startling sight. A welcome sight.

We were riding up early in the morning to the Tully. The road up afforded the most charming view of high rainforested hills reaching up to the pure blue sky, some of their heads dreaming in fluffy white clouds.

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We went white water rafting. So much fun! The mixture of calm water and class 4 rapids was an exhilarating ride all the way down. We rafted most of the time, but often went overboard to float in the water too, letting the current carry us in the quiet stretches. In the midst of the churning, clear waters, I could imagine them singing, making a joyful noise towards God — and I felt unafraid, because God’s nature made by the Creator could not harm me. Indeed, I laughd for delight and joy in myself. The rapids are roaring with praise to God, why should I refrain?

A wonder to be drifting in the river past volcanic basalt cliffs, past banks burgeoning with riotous greenery, past grand verdant trees and epiphytes, pure pristine nature rising high above us as we ride down the waters.

I love water and doing things in and on it. Together, the rapids and I rejoiced and shouted for love to God.

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The next day we went on a cruise to snorkel off the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral grows to a maximum depth of 30m, so there was much to see from the surface. What a beautiful sight, to see corals and fish in another universe. One perceives the ocean to be a quiet world, so it was surprising to hear the sound of parrotfish eating coral. Of all things to hear in the water — the crunching munchings of fish?

Fish swam here and there, going about their daily lives, ignoring us human beings. In the slightly deeper waters, schools of tiny fish would swim around, scales flashing, all in synchrony. I found myself often swimming amidst a school — the fish swimming around me, dodging but not fleeing — yet always beyond arm’s reach. What a joy to be amidst animals, God’s creation so indifferent and unafraid!

Even one of the reef fishes approached me, studying me as if inquisitive, peering first through one eye and then the other. Eventually it swam away — but then it came back again sometime later. (Or was it a different one?) I dared not reach out in case I scared it off. But oh, it looked at me just as I looked at it, fascinated at how different we were, creatures from two separate worlds.

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The trip was blessed. I felt such a strong sense of gratitude, praise and thankfulness at all I’d experienced. Neither the bad sunburn on the tops of my thighs, nor the really bad seasickness that nearly put me off the snorkelling, could change the overwhelming thankfulness of my heart. How wonderful was God’s creation, what a privilege to partake of it! The joyful roaring waters of the rapids, the silent magnificent waters of the ocean… for ages they had all worshiped God together. And today, I join them.

{Psalm 42:7, Psalm 89:9, Isaiah 51:15}

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