Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Happy Birthday United States!

Shaping up to be a pretty night on the lake.

Last night I got to enjoy a wonderful show of colorful fireworks from a boat floating on the warm waters of a beautiful lake. We left the house about an hour before sundown, but the sky was already turning the thunderclouds pink.

Pink clouds herald what’s to come.

And as we motored out to join hundreds of other boats the pink just kept getting deeper…

Lots of boats already out there.

…and deeper…until this was the sky we floated under as we waited for the man-made show to start.

Nature’s fireworks competed with anything man could shoot into the sky.

Soon enough the sun slid below the horizon, turning the sky midnight blue. Hundreds of people sitting in softly rocking boats settled in to wait for the show.

Blue hour on the lake.

I don’t have a lot of fireworks images. I was in moving boat with little light. Plus it was just so much fun to watch without trying to capture it all.

This was the clearest image of the few I took.

You can use your imagination to fill in the big booms and the bright lights.

A windy rainstorm was blowing in and above the bursting fireworks pinkish heat lightening was showcasing the clouds in huge arcs. In the middle of the show, over the boat’s radio, came a severe weather alert warning of strong winds and possibly hail. We began to consider heading for home.

Abstract photo of boats heading home after the show. Taken from our rocking boat.

We were lucky, though, the storm held off for a couple of hours. The fireworks were able to finish with a grand finale, and we made it back to the house with time to eat pie on the back deck before the rains poured down.

Heat lightening filled the sky after the last of the fireworks faded, and boats began scuttling for home.

It was a lovely evening and I thank Captain Carl for taking us out to see man and God’s lights fill the sky.

Happy birthday America!


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Lake living – the view from here

Sometimes the clouds just glow.


I am sitting in the living room, keeping one eye on the big picture window that overlooks the lake and the other on my computer screen. With any sign of movement out there the window gets my entire attention.

The doggy jet ski just went by!

I mean, what’s the point of living on the lake if you’re not watching it? Early in the morning the first thing I do every day is check the lake and the sky above it to see whether there’s anything interesting yet.

Morning earlier this week when the moon was full.

There almost always is.

Woman and her dog take a paddleboat ride while fish jumps in joy.

In fact, my Facebook friends are probably tired of getting that early (and sometimes not so early) morning image of the lake outside my window. But I never tire of it.

Summer slide waits for storm clouds to dissipate.

Oh sometimes, perhaps once every couple of days, I leave my picture window and get out on the water. Sometimes we fly out to the ‘big water’ in the ski boat to see what’s new. Perhaps to bob in the warm water and watch the sunset unrestrained by landscape.

Sunset on the ‘big water.’ Picture taken by my sister from our boat.

More often it’s just me and my little kayak that venture out, either in early morning or late afternoon. Sometimes even as the sun is going down, always in search of something beautiful.

An evening paddle.

The lake never disappoints me.

Early night boat wake as the last of the sunset disappears.

So I’m sharing random photos of life on the lake. Just things I’ve seen and captured, moments in time all revolving around sky and water and weather.

Crazy skies over a lake playground.

Sometimes I’m sitting at the house, watching the world go by.

Two guys in their kayaks enjoy a summer day.

Sometimes I’m out in the water letting the sky point the way.

Late evening light as we head home in the boat.

I don’t think there’s a better way to live than on water, any kind of water. A river, a pond, a lake, an ocean. Water changes all the time. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to get the camera (which is rarely far from me) and by the time I get the lens cap off the light has changed, the boat has moved, the sun or moon has ducked behind a cloud.

Just as I’m typing this the sky changed from bright blue with white clouds piling up to pouring down rain. Honest…it was sunny as I was typing the previous sentence and now I can’t see across the lake. Good thing I went down to the dock and got the last image down at the bottom of the post when I did.

An afternoon swim is always good too.

The moment is lost.

A little rain cools things off and never sticks around for long.

I’m always sad for an instant, but then remember that I was thrilled to have seen it at all. Sometimes I even go for a walk or a paddle without a camera, just to prove to myself that I am capable of enjoying the sights without recording them all.

Clouds and water make for a perfect evening.

But that’s very hard for me. I seem to see almost everything as a series of images. Sometimes I can’t help myself but to point out something to the people I’m with. The angle of a tree, the light behind a building, the shape of a cloud.

Trees frame a visitor to our dock.

My family usually just nods and smiles as they indulge me. So here I am, sharing with you, these random water and sky images. Because I can’t help myself.

I hope you’ll indulge me too.

Clouds gather every afternoon before our daily rain.


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When truck safety visits the lake

Heading out before the sun sets.

As most of you know I volunteer for a nonprofit that works on truck safety issues. It’s made up of volunteers, most of which have either survived a crash with a large commercial truck or have had family or friends killed in a crash with a truck.

We get together in Washington D.C., usually to fight some piece of legislation that we feel will make our roads less safe than they are now. And every other year we meet there for a conference called Sorrow to Strength where we learn how to make change and where we spend days in meetings with our Members of Congress and the DOT and other agencies that make or enforce rules surrounding trucks.

It’s pretty stressful.

We’ve often talked about wanting to spend time with each other when we’re not working, not talking endlessly about our losses, not overcome with grief, not walking up and down Capitol Hill until our feet ache to match our hearts.

Lots of big puffy white clouds began to turn pink.

Three years ago some of us were able to meet in Maine. We had a wonderful time sitting around eating lobster and talking around a campfire until late into the evening.

Huge mounds of cloud build up to the South.

And this past weekend a few of the volunteers came here to Lake Martin. It felt good to be together in a less stressful place. It felt good to host them in Dad’s home. It was like having a big family reunion. In fact it was a family reunion, because these people are my truck safety family. They are people who know better than anyone what it’s like to get that call. What it’s like to be in the car.

What it’s like.

We ate too much and lazed around in the sun. We hung out together, thankful that we have each other while wishing we didn’t belong to the family at all.

And then they all turned pink.

Swimming, water skiing, just floating in the warm waters of the lake was so much fun. Even climbing the mountain and then the fire tower in the Alabama heat was fun. There were hugs and lots of laughter, and even a few tears when my sister played Amazing Grace on her bagpipes at sunset.

Headed back North the sky was entirely different.

We took pictures, of course, of us goofing off in the water, climbing the mountain and the fire tower, eating and laughing. But I need to maintain everyone’s privacy, so rather than show you those photos I’ve used last night’s sunset images throughout this post.

Floating in pink and gold.

I was out in my kayak and the sky was amazing. Sort of like spending the weekend with my truck safety family.

Simply amazing.

And then the moon came up.


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Sensory overload

The plan was to write about an event my husband and I hosted over the weekend. Since Saturday I’ve been thinking about what I’d write come Monday evening.

It all started out like this.

But as usual I got distracted by the view outside my window. It was hard not to watch as over the course of a few hours we went from blue skies and puffy white clouds to an amazing pink and purple finish.

And then we got our typical afternoon storm.

I can’t help but share with you just a few of the images I’ll never forget.

The afternoon thunderstorm lasted longer than the thirty minutes we’ve become accustomed to. And to the north of us the sun continued to shine, making the rain glisten as it streamed into the lake.

The lake turned green with silver beads of rain.

And then, after an hour or so the rain stopped and the sky lightened and the lake went glassy in preparation for donning her evening wear.

Anticipation builds.

Things started to turn pink and gold.

Now it’s getting interesting.

Katie and I headed to the dock at a brisk pace as the sky began to change. For once she didn’t have to stop and sniff every blade of grass. She seemed to sense my urgency.

We started out gold.

And as we stood on the dock in amazement this happened.

Unbelievable.

Katie was so overwhelmed she didn’t even ask for a treat as payment to pose.

Hey mama! I’m pink!

The color just kept intensifying. It was hard to know where to shoot. So I just shot everywhere.

Simply beyond words.

And then, as we stood there, trying to remember to breath, the color faded to purple and the light slowly died.

The closing act.

Mother Nature gave quite a show. She presented her best finery tonight, and I hope wherever you are you were given a similar gift. But if you happened to have rain, or boring empty skies, I’m sharing Katie’s and my sunset.

Because it was just too big not to.

Good night everyone!


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Paddle away the blues

Sometimes being here at the house my parents built without them gets a little sad. Though it’s beautiful here it’s also filled with lots of memories.

Savoring the stillness.

Everywhere.

So the other evening, feeling a bit melancholy, I took a little paddle upstream. The evening was warm and still.

Mountains of clouds.

I spent a little time just sitting near the green trees, floating in the water, the clouds reflected all around me. It was just what I needed to fix my blues.

Green reflected in green.

Being a weekday it was quiet, all the weekend lake lovers had to go back to their jobs and city lives. But as I was paddling back to the house a big pontoon boat slid by me creating large waves that gently rocked my kayak. I waved at them. They waved back at me.

Rocking in warm waters.

Southern living. It’s a good thing.

The day’s clouds produced no rain for us. This time.

I headed home to wait for the evening’s sunset.

Perfect.

Pretty in pink.


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Living on the lake – summer storm

Once upon a time (this afternoon) Katie and I were sitting on the back porch just watching the lake. Not reading a book, not napping, not looking at a phone or a computer screen.

Just watching the lake

It was a beautiful sunny day when suddenly…

A cool thing about being on a lake is that it’s always changing. From moment to moment the light changes, the wind ruffles the surface, a fish jumps, a bird swoops, clouds gather, thunder threatens.

Wait a minute. Thunder threatens? Why yes, almost every afternoon in this magical place a thunderstorm pops up.

…it turned into a dark and stormy afternoon!

Today we heard it way off to the north, but getting closer. And across the way dark clouds gathering high above a house.

I left Katie on the porch and went down to the lake to get a better look. She was not happy to see me approaching danger. But she stayed up on the porch and worried.

I’ll wait up here mama, but I don’t like it.

It got darker and darker. The wind picked up from the northwest.

It’s blowing hard up here!

Waves developed and Katie just couldn’t stay on the porch any longer. She rushed down to the shore to bark at the bad waves! She was so fast that I couldn’t get a clear shot of her.

Stand back mama! I’ll get these waves out of here!

She ran out onto the dock to bark even harder at those waves posing a threat to her mama.

These waves haven’t heard the last from me!

And the winds slowed, and the waves leveled out and Katie was a happy girl.

Mission accomplished mama!

And then the rains came and we ran for the house. We watched the storm blow from the comfort of our living room and picture window. Katie continued to bark at all the thunder overhead.

I guess that storm wasn’t quite over, was it mama?!

And soon the storm blew away, and the sky began to lighten.

Just a summer shower now.

And the sun came out and made the world bright again.

Dripping sunlight.

And Katie said…

You can count on me!

… “I told you I’d handle it mama.”

The end.

Wednesday’s storm.


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A day at the lake

One early morning duck enjoys the quiet.


After two and a half days of driving Katie and I were content to spend Sunday just watching the lake. There was so much going on in our little corner of the world.

I think the birds are used to having the yard and water to themselves and they went about their busy schedules as if we weren’t watching. We stayed still up by the house and just observed.

The swallow gourds out in the water had huge spiderwebs spun the night before and filled with fishflies. A male bluebird liked to sit up on top and survey his kingdom, and a female bluebird was busy taking fresh bugs into the top left gourd.

The morning sun lit up one of the bird apartments.

When the wind picked up, huge parts of the fly filled spider web fell into the water and fish leaped out of the water to grab the gourmet treat. It was quite a spectacle and one I wish I had captured. You’ll have to imagine it.

Later large blackbirds flew at the remaining webs, grabbing some of the stuck flies for themselves, in between being bombarded by the bluebird couple who apparently thought the bigger birds were attacking their nest. No pictures of that either.

After the bird epic slowed down I decided to kayak up the creek. At the end of our slough is a cyprus forest. It was a quiet paddle, still early morning.

Paddling toward my favorite trees.

I love these trees, and this morning the light was pretty, playing across the texture of their trunks.

The sun on the trunk made pretty patterns.

The water is high here, there has been so much rain, and I could have explored further up the creek. But I thought about snakes hiding up in the trees and turned around.

Kind of spooky back there.

It was good timing anyway, as I was pulling back into our dock the sound of boat engines and people laughing slipped up over the hills. The lake was waking up. I smiled and headed back inside to my girl who was napping happily in the air conditioning.

Time for fun in the sun.

Later in the day the clouds settled in, and the wind picked up. Quickly Katie and I gathered up lawn chairs and dragged the kayak into the boat garage.

Clouding up. But still beautiful!

And then the rains hit.

Rain slams across the lake.

And just as quickly the rain blew away and the evening settled down quietly as did Katie and I.

After the rain the lake settles into evening.

Just a typical day on the lake in Alabama. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Summer greens.


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The road leads to many barns

Poppies at one of many rest stops we visited today.


If you’ve been following us on Facebook you’ll know that Katie and I are headed South. Today we completed day 2 of our 3 day adventure. We spent last night in Indianapolis Indiana, and tonight we’re in Huntsville Alabama. It’s supposed to be a 6 hour trip between the two but of course Katie and I stop at every rest stop along the way.

Plus we were driving through barn country.

This was probably pretty once.

Katie enjoys her rest stops and I enjoy my barns. What can I say except that she’s a very patient sheltie-girl. And I try not to get off course for very long or very often. In fact I only allowed myself to get off the freeway twice today when I saw lovely barns dotting the countryside. And I only traveled 3 or 4 miles out of the way each time.

I saw so many beautiful barns that were not in a spot easily found once I exited the freeway, but I always found something else that was (almost) as photogenic as what enticed me off course in the first place.

Saw this one from the freeway and actually found it after we got on the back roads.

It’s hot in the South right now. The car said it was 97 out there this afternoon. Katie, in her crate in the back seat, slept a lot and I tried to keep the car cool for her.

Cow rests in the shade.

But as the day wore on, and about two hours away from our hotel, I noticed the air conditioning was almost negligible. I’m sure she felt nothing cool in the back seat. She seemed lethargic and I began to panic. I rolled the windows down and hoped that the breeze made up for the lack of cool. I began to talk to her loudly and often. I told her we were going to get her dinner soon. She perked up.

Jackpot! A whole bunch of barns in one shot!

I stopped for a minute to give her a long drink of water and feel her tummy. She didn’t feel too warm. Yet. I drove faster and skipped the last rest stop at the Alabama line. I figured we were only 30 minutes from an air conditioned room, and stopping would do nothing but heat us both up even more.

Barn on the back road.

So I sang to her, talked to her, and she watched me, thinking something good was coming. It was. Air conditioning! I even planned on filling the tub with cool water if I had to cool her down. Or looking for a vet if I thought she was in heat stroke.

Working the fields on this hot afternoon.

But she bounced out of the car when we got to the hotel and pulled me, prancing all the way, into the lobby. And then she wanted to play. And eat her supper. And drink a big long drink. And go outside for a walk. And play some more. And go back outside. And get a treat. Or two.

The colors in the barn go so nicely with the colors in the field.

So I guess all my worrying was for nothing.

But tomorrow we’ll be getting up early to drive the last 4 hours to the lake before the afternoon heats up. And next week we’ll be taking the car to a dealer to see what’s up with the air.

It’s always something.

Air conditioning is good mama!