Water for Life


 The lake outside my window has taken on a whole new life. Mother nature has dumped gallons of water across the Southeast, making us all take notice of the power of water.

Here on the lake, not only is the beauty, the million dollar homes, the leisurely lifestyles and the fishermen who flock here the focus, but so is the quality of the water and the love for nature shown by those who will gather in the next weeks to clean her shores.

Water brings with it the gift of life. The stored treasure beyond my yard fuels our children, quenches Tuscaloosa athletes, bathes us as we prepare for each day. It flows freely from the lake to filtering systems to our faucets. We work to conquer our little empires, meet our goals, and work to afford vacations to other waterfronts across the world.

As we gathered over burgers on the back porch, the value of that water we take for granted took on new meaning. I learned of groups from local churches venturing to Haiti and the Dominican Republic 6-8 times a year, carrying water filters into the hillsides where families with million dollar views live in three dollar shacks with no clean water. Each year 3.4 million people die from water related illnesses, almost the number for the entire city of Los Angeles.

A group there worked with Church of the Highlands to hike into the jungle, going door to door in Voodoo country taking 600 free filters to families.  Volunteers visit each home, placing water filled with mud into the filters and and out comes water that the team drinks in front of them.

On a particular trip, a mother had recently passed after giving birth. Four other children remained with a father, who was terminally ill. The team took him to the hospital for treatment and has arranged for the children to be taken care of.
“The needs are so great,” a local participant said. “We cannot do it all, we know that. But it is like those starfish that you throw in the ocean. Some of them DO make it back. We return as often as we can to find those starfish.”
There are teams working on adding space in their building there to take in children who are orphaned and have nowhere to go. They also are sponsoring children for school. Education is the key to their escaping this life.

I recently met a sweet girl who ran the Mini Cooper tour business there. Twenty four, bright, educated, but unable to ever leave the country. We offered to host her here. She now has a baby and will probably never leave.
As I stand on the hillside and look out across the Caribbean beauty on a recent vacation with my family, it is hard to express what hides among the hills with the best views.

It is this groups goal to find each one and bring them the fountain of life that we here in America expect to simply drip from our faucet, straight from our freshwater lakes.

I!f you are interested in learning how to get involved, contact info@filterofhope.com or visit your local church to find a trip you can be a part of!  www.churchofthehighlands.com has a number of ministries across the world for you or your child.

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

http://www.adamsacrossamerica.com

 

Lake Living


 

Lake Living

I was given the opportunity to write a column (and articles) for a local community paper here in Tuscaloosa called Druid City Living. Watch for it in your mailbox each month. It can be found online at Druidcityliving.com.  I share a few of the articles here to quench your thirst. Hoping to have you hooked on all things about the lake and Tuscaloosa (Northport) Lake Living. Allison

There is something magical about nature.

Step out of the car after a long day and get a glimpse of a lake, a stream, or a tree in bloom and watch your cares drop away, at least for that moment.

Here in Tuscaloosa, residents have the opportunity to enjoy year round access to the Black Warrior River, Lake Tuscaloosa and nature at every turn.

I moved to Lake Tuscaloosa from Birmingham in May 2013 after 10 years as a writer, artist and realtor. Birmingham has a couple of great community papers and magazines, some which I have written for. When I saw Druid City Living, I was excited. I begged for a chance to share all I love about living on Lake Tuscaloosa.

It is my goal in this monthly column to write about unique activities that take place on and around the 177 miles of shoreline and the banks of local rivers and streams. Alabama boasts football, but we are also home to the greatest freshwater biodiversity in the nation. Combine that with mountains and sandy beaches and you have to puff up a bit when realizing this place is pretty spectacular.

For this column, we welcome your stories, big catch photos, and look forward to interviewing those who make the waterfront their home. We will feature activities that take place on the lake.

In my four or so years as a Bama student some years ago I crossed the spillway, but never explored the lake. I grew up near here in West Alabama (Livingston) and married on Lake Tuscaloosa. The intimate cabin at NorthRiver Yacht Club was to be the site before it became an extravaganza suited for the crystal room with 12 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen. To say it is ironic that I will retire here with my husband of 10 years would be an understatement. I lived on the beach for four years. Before moving here, I lived in Crestline and we had a home on Lake Martin. Residents here may not recognize the unique, quiet, non-fluctuating treasure nestled in our own backyard. I’ll try my best not to share this with those in Birmingham who haven’t realized this is far better and closer than Lake Martin.

In the winter at Lake Martin, the water level drops significantly due to Alabama Power fluctuations. Here, I can barely see a change. Year round, when bizarre warm weather rolls across the cliffs, we could slip out on the water, or at least put our toes in at the dock.

There are dozens of neighborhoods that call the lakeside home and a number of rural areas that keep her shores wild with deer and turkey. Just down the street from me is a parcel of land I dream of with a barn, acreage and water frontage. A stone’s throw from there is a public island ready for anyone to pop a tent and have a campfire and across the road, a quaint planned development with a shared pool and public boat docks. Cliff tops boast million-dollar refuges just beyond this tranquil spot. All of this is surrounded by Northport’s treasured artsy cuisine spots and convenient to grocery stores. It is less than 12 minutes (five miles north) from downtown Tuscaloosa’s great restaurants and shops.

Make it a priority to get outside and soak in nature, whether in the woods or around any water.  

Blessings as we head into boating season. I’m looking forward to sharing your memories, both past and those you make this summer.

From the January issue.

Allison is an artist/ photographer/ author and REALTOR with Duckworth Morris Real Estate.  www.facebook.com/allisonadamsrealtor

 

Free Spirit


Free Spirit

I sold this one this week at the Druid City Art Festival

Lake Living: Art In Nature


I have found, in living on the beach as with living on the lake, that while we can set up tent on the shores of nature, God is in complete control. While residing for three years on West Beach in Gulf Shores, I became in tune with every breeze, display of sunset, and the ease of unwinding into the end of a day. I was aware of each popup storm that blew past, as it tossed umbrellas and spewed sand. We were forced to move inland at least three times because of hurricane threats and tropical storms, towing dogs, cats and kids. For the next 10 years, I lived in the city. I found I lost count of sunsets and even the shape and size of the moon most of the time. 

This past month’s ice event shut that city down, showing us that we can prepare, but we can never be ready for everything that nature has in store. 

I was in my home on the lake the entire week of Snowpocalypse 2014. All became still on Lake Tuscaloosa the day after the snow blew across the South, although I have heard there was a pontoon out that afternoon to take in the white wonderland vistas from the water.

I watched as icicles formed, growing longer each day as the ice refused to melt. Tracks in the snow reminded me that these are not our woods. I actually had time to fill the bird feeder that I glance at on the way out the door to meetings and carpool, thinking maybe I should refill it, despite the squirrels. 

My dogs, who associate the woods with our camp house and freedom, we try to contain. Their excitement is buzzing as much as that of the kids in the neighborhood. Through their eyes we can re-connect with our inner child, embracing the magic of snow. 

On the lake, only a few days before the ice storm, I sat on my deck in shorts, soaking in the warm sunshine and watching a sailboat putter out to the point until it raised its sail, capturing the wind for fuel that would push it across the open water.

Each day, as I putter back to home base, tired and hungry, I am reminded why we live. As an artist, as well as a writer, I look at life as art. 

Colors are beautiful when they are significant,I read in “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri, beside a warm fire. He died in 1929, but any artist who has studied the notes from his classes realizes his wisdom is timeless. 

Life is beautiful when it is significant. Many of us live life being simply present. Quoting from Henri on a day when I have nothing else to do because I am locked in by Mother Nature, I write as I read, It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive. It is the greatest feat man has to accomplish and the spirits must flow.

Life and spirit, I am convinced while surrounded by it, flow most naturally in nature. 

I look back on the ten years in the city and while I loved that time, I am happy to be back in the throws of nature. While in Birmingham, we took the time to explore every restaurant, outdoor cafe, music festival, and cultural event that we could fit into our weekends. We would drag the kids along, all in the name of exposure to the things in life,to Bible studies, art shows, festivals, garage sales, and plays. We would have date nights to motorcycling spots, RV adventures, beer pubs, wine tastings and fundraisers. We lost sense of what God was doing outside of our self-orchestrated circle of life.

Today, just a few days after the ice has melted and a warm rain plummets on the roof across the rocky yard and into the lake, the waterfalls blast with activity to again remind me of the power of nature. Just beyond the hilltops I catch a glimpse of one ray of sun piercing through a cloud as it illuminates the water for only a second before fading back to shadow. 

Tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, or whenever Mother Nature agrees to move onward, I will make a point to step beyond the porch and find what that moon has been up to. Again, I have lost track. Maybe right now I am missing a rainbow as I write. Art is always being created by nature even when we arent looking.

Heres hoping you have a peaceful run-in with nature. Until we meet again, be sure to gather those photos of you and your love of nature, the lake, or your love for anything for that matter. Because in life, the greatest of all is love, and it is February, the month for no excuses!

Photo: Allison Puccetti Adams

Colors of the Lake acrylic, by Allison Adams. 

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