This year’s Frolic was a huge success! As usual, we had guided kayak tours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and each one offered an opportunity to follow in William Bartram’s wake, and at two sites, his footsteps.
In previous years, we have included a tour to the site of Spalding’s Lower Store. This year, we switched things up a bit and offered instead, a paddle tour to Mount Royal. We launched at Renegade’s on the River in Georgetown and paddled the short distance to the Mount Royal Subdivision dock. On the way we made a brief excursion up Beecher Spring Run (another Bartram Site). Though the way was blocked by a downed tree, we were able to go up far enough to see the clear spring water and experience the old-Florida look and feel afforded by the spring run.
Once at the Subdivision dock, we left our kayaks and made the half-mile hike to the top of Mount Royal. After a brief talk about the history of Mount Royal and the many visits John and William Bartram made to the historic site, we were joined by Peter Ackerman, a Quaker Friend, who read the Prayer Bartram offered atop Mount Royal in the summer of 1774.
Peter talked about the sacred aspect of Mount Royal and its spiritual importance to both Native Americans and William Bartram. It was here that William offered his famous prayer to the great Creator, where he added his expressions of homage to those of the all the creatures of creation and asked for both mercy and wisdom, especially in man’s stewardship of creation. The prayer offers a glimpse into the heart of Bartram and was especially meaningful when read at the exact location where he described offering it in book, Bartrams Travels.
We often talk about Bartram the explorer, the author and the artist. This tour was the perfect place to talk about Bartram’s spirituality and his Quaker roots; another aspect of William Bartram and perhaps the most important.