Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding Your Way

I'm writing a story about a small lake nestled in the hills and hollows just south of Birmingham. The city fathers had vision, because back in 1909 they realized the city would need sources of water in order to grow, so they dammed the Little Cahaba River to form Lake Purdy. 
In the 1920's they raised the dam and the water level to its current size. Lake Purdy is now a little over 1500 acres, but what's interesting is there is no development on the banks of the lake.
The city realized that if they allowed development, the water wouldn't  be fit to drink, so Lake Purdy is a little oasis in the middle of one of the most populated areas in Alabama.
There is no swimming or skiing in the lake, but there is one small marina that rents boats for local fishermen. I learned all this today as I talked to the folks at the marina. 
When I asked about getting pictures out on the water, he asked one of his dockhands to take me out. The young man had been in some kind of accident in the past and sustained head injuries, but he was a good boat captain.
He wouldn't leave the dock until I was in my lifejacket and he took it slow on the water, which was fine with me.
Today was about 15 degrees cooler than last week and the sky was as blue as a swimming pool. The huge clouds that were scattered across the sky looked as fluffy as the insides of my mama's biscuits.
I shot pictures of the water, low hanging trees, and great blue herons taking flight from the shoals. 
At one point I looked to the east and saw a young buck standing knee deep in the lake drinking. There are a pair of nesting eagles on Lake Purdy and we rode around for a while trying to see them, but that didn't happen.
As we headed back toward the landing, I looked back at the captain, and he had the biggest smile on his face. With the breeze blowing his hair he looked up into the sky for a long time and then said -- I love my job. 
I can't imagine all that he's gone through in his young life. It's sometimes hard for special need's folks to make their way in a fast moving world. 
But today I found myself smiling -- not only because I got to spend some blissful time on the water, but because I met someone who beat the odds, and found their way.


  1. A wonderful story, Rick; your compassionate comments about the captain made me feel really joyful.

    The pictures sound great - do we get to see some?

  2. Great post. Very moving and well written.

  3. That young man has found the secret to a happy life. Contentment! He is able to support himself doing what he loves.

  4. What a wonderful day and experience. I hope you will share some of the pictures that you took.

  5. Any day spent on a body of water is had a dream of a companion.


  6. Nice of you to share this wonderful experience.

    Love it!


  7. Thanks all. It was a fun experience.

  8. Lake Purdy sounds amazing with its nature and human interest! Lovely! Take care

  9. Well, I reckon that's about as nice a day as could be hoped for. You learned something. You experienced courage in another. You communed with nature. It don't get no better'n that.

  10. It was a fun day. NOTE TO SELF: Spend more days embracing life.

  11. The Blue Heron siting alone makes me want to go to Lake Purdy. The possibility of eagles adds to the desire. I grew up near Lake Martin in Tallapoosa County and saw all kinds of development happening there while I was growing up. I love the idea of no development. Sounds like you had a marvelous day!

  12. That's pretty cool. Reminds me of the spring lagoon near my parents place.

  13. Beautifully written post today Rick, and I'm so glad that that young man has found contentment in doing a job that he loves so much.

  14. I was hoping to see those pictures, but it can wait. You gave me some lovely ones in my head. Isn't it wonderful when you meet someone who is completely content and happy with their life? We could all take a lesson.

  15. That sounds like such an awesome place. And a great experience!

    I love how much your appreciation for the small (and big) things in life comes across in your writing.

  16. This is how you dig deep to find the good. Great story that's perfect for helping some souls escape the hardships they're facing right now because of drought. Thanks for sharing, Rick!

  17. Neat story Rick! I, too, love the water and any time spent there is reviving. Time spent with a new friend is even more of a jewel! Good for you for recognising it!


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