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What It is Like to Live at Lake Martin

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What It is Like to Live at Lake Martin

People often ask me what it’s like to live at Lake Martin.

I am sure a lot of people around here are asked that question. I usually respond with where the stores are, what things there are to do, worship and volunteer opportunities, etc. All that data is good, but it’s not the whole story. It doesn’t tell you how the people act in a community. It doesn’t tell you what it feels like to live at Lake Martin. I had a recent experience that I think pretty much sums up what it’s like to live here.

I was on the (pretty rural) west side of the lake. I was way down Coosa County Road 20 which is an almost one lane gravel road that stretches several miles, lined mostly by huge trees. Cell coverage is kind of spotty and it feels like the lake in that it feels like the opposite of the big city. Anyway, it was a Friday afternoon, and I was headed away from there when a pretty powerful wind storm blew in.

There was lots of wind and rain. Visibility went down to about twenty feet ahead of me. I had to pull over to the side of the road because the wind was so strong. The pine trees on either side of the road were leaning over almost parallel to the ground. To be honest with you, I thought I was in the middle of a tornado. There was no tornado watch or anything like that, but clearly, something was going wrong. I pulled over and thought about getting out of my car and laying in the fetal position in the ditch like they say you’re supposed to. I didn’t, but I came as close as I ever have.

Finally, the wind abated, and it was like nothing happened. Not a leaf was stirring. I steered back up on the road and started west on Coosa 20 again, heading back towards civilization. I soon found that I was in what I would call a Lake Martin traffic jam. There were many pine trees down over Coosa 20 and several cars were stopped and blocked in both directions. We couldn’t go forward or backward. We were going nowhere. It was about five o’clock, and we were seemingly stuck with a long walk to the highway to start the weekend.

I didn’t really know what else to do, so I got out of my car and started looking around. The weather was totally calm and safe. I found a bunch of branches that were small enough for me to drag out of the way, so I started doing that. Then I looked at the road and saw that everybody was out of their car, doing the same.

I think that was the really big moment of the evening.

We all just started picking up limbs and helping each other drag smaller trees off of the road. There were still two or three really big trees that we could not move. Someone looked over and saw a timber crew that was in a cutover very near where we were. They waved at the crew, and one of the timber guys drove over his skidder and literally drug the huge trees off of the road in under five minutes.

We all could have left at that point. The road was passable. We could have left it like it was and gone home. After all, it was Friday. But, there were still lots of limbs, needles, and debris on the road. En masse, the ten or fifteen people that were on the road with me all started just to clean up. There was a guy in a landscape truck that had been cutting grass nearby. He had a blower and he just cranked it up and started blowing all of the pine needles off of the road.

In about 10 minutes time, we had Coosa 20 looking clear as a bell, even better than before the storm. Then everybody just kind strolled back, hopped in their cars and proceeded on their way.

I saw a couple of people that I knew, and got a chance to speak to them and say hi.

That’s where I get to the point of the story about what it’s like to live at Lake Martin.

No one asked anybody what we should do. No one complained. No one wrung their hands and waited for a big company, the government, or anyone else to come by and help. We just all hopped out and helped each other clear the road. It was unspoken. There was no plan. There was no hierarchy. We just did it.

When I look back on the summer of 2023, I think that is going to be one of my highlights. It’s nice when you feel like you’re from somewhere and that somewhere is full of people that care about each other.

That’s what it’s like to live here.

Note: I originally published this article in my column in Lake Magazine. I am proud to write about Lake Martin Real Estate for Lake Magazine and ACRE – the Alabama Center for Real Estate.