There I was, 10 years old, jumping off the stern of my grandfather’s bass fishing boat into Weiss Lake. I rolled over onto my back, leaning on my life jacket as I strapped my mother’s old water skis on for the first time. My mom helped me hold them straight up to the blue Alabama sky as my grandmother punched the throttle of the boat. I held onto that towrope, desperately trying to stand up. Twelve years later and I can still taste the water as it rushed up my nose and down the back of my throat. It took several times, but eventually I stood up on those skis and my grandmother drove me around the island that I came to love.
I knew no one there except my own family, but it is the place where I fell in love with the water. I still go back there, and now I drive that very boat I learned to ski on. I have seen the water rise and fall across the seasons and the years. I have seen the beautiful places where few people have been and I have seen the dirty water of the river as it meets the lake. I have seen deer come down to its shore, ducks land across the water, snakes sliding up the rocks, turtles hanging out on the downed trees in the water, fish jumping at the lures of the fishing rods, and during the hot summers I watched the neighborhood dogs run the length of the boat dock and dive into the cool waters. Regardless of the number of places I have moved to and from, Weiss Lake will always feel like home.