Any given Saturday (or Sunday)

Weekends were made for LakeLife. Where else can you peacefully view the most spectacular of sunsets from the bow of your boat, motor off, lulled only by the gentle rock of waves made by passing anglers on their way home after the day’s catch?

Where else can you see a heron creeping along the shoreline, almost like a gangly tiptoe, as he keeps a watchful eye out for his own catch of the day?

And where else can you hear the unmistakable shriek of a gleeful child who has reeled in that first fish? It’s a memory you know well because you’ve had it yourself. You know, too, that just like yours, it’s a memory destined to last a lifetime.

On any given weekend, lake dwellers are joined by thousands more. Some may be our neighbors, of course, but the population does swell when the sun comes out, the weather warms and the season is upon us. And that’s OK. We like sharing our piece of paradise. It’s an unspoken kinship that brings us all together.

Groups and organizations on our lake do their part to make sure it lures one and all throughout the season, whether you live here or not.

The lake plays host to myriad events designed to get people out to enjoy what lake dwellers like me have known all along – anything and everything seems better by the water.

Take my home lake, Alabama’s Logan Martin, for instance. This past weekend, residents traded their day jobs to captain or crew boats made of nothing but cardboard and duct tape. It was all in fun to help a worthy cause – Logan Martin Lake Protection Association – an advocacy group for our lake. It was the resurgence of a tradition around these parts, the Cardboard Regatta, and we hope it will continue to be a tradition for a long time to come. And we continue to owe a debt of gratitude to LMLPA for its dedication in protecting our most precious resource.

But there’s plenty more when it comes to events. A few weeks ago, LakeFest, billed as the Southeast’s largest in-water boat show, drew new boats, vehicles, a boatload of lake-related vendors, music, entertainment and plenty of food for a two-day outdoor festival. Thousands turned out for the annual event that promotes our lake and helps local dealers spread an epidemic of new boat fever, an affliction I’ve suffered myself a time or two over the years.

The cure is worth every penny, though. When you head out on the boat, it’s as if you are setting sail on a new adventure every single time. Just like the sunsets around these parts, no two boat rides are alike. You never know what you might see or hear.

Varying skill levels of skiing, wakeboarding, slalom, wake surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, skulling and knee boarding have all been spotted aboard our boat.

From catch and release to reeling in ‘the big one’ for keeps are regular occurrences as are the friendly waves of ‘pontooners’ like us greeting us as they pass by. On this day, just like any other on the water, we’re all neighbors and friends.

There in the distance, you can see a skull and cross bones flag fluttering in the summer breeze high atop a bamboo pole, marking one of our lake’s favorite spots – Pirate Island. There’s buried treasure for the children and an unrivaled time of camaraderie for adults. Boats surround the island on any given weekend with kids swimming, hunting for their treasures and making new friends.

Adults cool off under a boat canopy, waist-deep in the water around the island or in the shade of its towering trees. Just like their kids, they, too, make new friends. Some have even been known to take a snooze in the hammock near the tropical palm trees planted there, no doubt dreaming of the paradise they’ve found. It’s all courtesy of a couple who owns the island and want to share the experience with friends they may have never even met.

Nearby is another popular spot where the water is deep and the cliffs are high. Any given weekend, it beckons groups to pull up by boat or personal watercraft and enjoy the sun, take a dip, or watch as the bravest among them jump from the cliff or swing from a rope and drop into the cool waters below.

We even have our own lakeside church for Sunday services during the season, at sunrise on Easter and in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, aptly named Chapel in the Pines.

But it’s more than just the people or the water. The lake is nature at its best. It’s a turtle poking his head out to see what all the fuss is about. It’s the seagulls making their distinct, laughing sound as if the joke’s on you. It’s the mallards, teaching their babies to swim, the tiny ducks dutifully forming a row behind their parents.

And it’s the American White pelicans, who have found a new home in Alabama through their majestic flight soaring high above on a nine-foot wingspan first and then making a splash right here in our home.

It really is more than just a weekend. It’s a warm summer evening with a full moon illuminating your way. It’s the Fourth of July Fireworks lighting up the nighttime sky and reflecting a kaleidoscope of colors in the shimmering waters below.

It’s the colorful palette of sails crisscrossing our lake – regattas that can’t help but catch your eye as the sailing club puts on an impressive show as if right on cue for your boat ride.

It’s all those things and more, and on any given day – weekend or not – you simply live it, love it and treasure it. It’s LakeLife 24/7. How lucky can you get?

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