Just two blocks from my Charleston-style home on Bridges Farm Rd., I plunge almost every day into Lake Davidson, the horseshoe-shaped lake with the gooey clay bottom. On sunny days, when the water turns a pellucid blue-green, I swim as freely as the sparrows and Great Blue Herons swooping down from the trees. Immersed in Lake Davidson, moving rapidly from one islet to another, I feel happy. I’m as free as the swimmers Diana Nyad or Johnny Weissmuller doing a Tarzan routine. The Lake is a moving meditation for me – my confessional, the closest thing I will ever feel to flying with my own wings.
Strange that this human-scale lake that stretches roughly 341 acres just east of Lake Norman should become a serene byproduct of North Carolina’s interstate development. When Duke Energy dammed the Catawba River between 1959 and 1964 to create Lake Norman – sometimes known as the “inland sea” of North Carolina – state road authorities also began extending I-77. By 1968, a stretch of highway extending into the Davidson and Cornelius areas in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties was completed, creating a causeway that subdivided the big Lake Norman from its “sisters,” Lake Cornelius and Lake Davidson.
Today, from our neighborhood shores, we can see that isthmus of I-77 traffic, the trucks and cars zooming along day and night.
One day, I hope that isthmus will be lined with trees, perhaps poplars or pines – not only to prevent roving hands and eyes from slowing down while driving on I-77 to look at our lake, but also to dampen noise and complete the “shield” that gives our Lake its calming mood.
Our Davidson Points HOA has done an excellent job of installing racks to enable local kayakers to park their boats for a ready plunge into the lake. And Phil Dorvel and Frank Adams of the HOA Board have told me they hope to build a sandy beach near the kayak racks that will encourage young swimmers and sunbathers.
For now, I relish the fact that I’m virtually a loner swimming in the Lake. Oh it’s true, a seaplane has chosen to land on Lake Davidson a few times, making waves in the neighborhood. Ten horsepower boats are permitted, although most people are cautious and readily spot my neon-green bathing cap. Mostly, it’s kayakers and little boats and pontoons plying still waters.
As autumn progresses, I’ll take walks around the perimeter of our lake in early morning. I’ll watch the deep reds and golds of maples and oaks spilling onto the water’s surface. There will be families of mallards and Canadian geese making their home here. And even though I’ve swum in many seas and oceans far away – in Asia, Europe, the Grenadines, Hawaii and Australia –there will always be that one lake near my Carolina home. It’s my pocket of serenity, my view of suns setting in the West. Lake Davidson colors my life, and always makes me feel wet and welcome.