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Echoes on the Lake

An energy filled the air, not unlike static electricity. The energy of hundreds of people excited for the evening’s festivities. Children excited for the big explosions, adults excited to revisit that childlike excitement as the flashes of light sky rocket over the sky – changing the color of the sky and water to new, brilliant colors. As we traveled across the lake in our bright yellow boat, we passed and shared the water ways with several other happy boaters. People of every age with smiles spreading across their faces, played outside in anticipation of the show. Some were eating barbecued dinners, some playing outdoor games, some swimming, and a few were fishing. Laughter, voices, small children delighted screams, and music filled the air. The day had been overcast, but the evening was beautiful. The sky opened up and the sun escaped the clouds. The golden rays lit up the shore and the trees and the water as if it were being washed in a brilliant gold translucent paint.

We had a lovely little dinner party at our house on the lake that evening before the fireworks. It was July 1st – the coast spreads out the dates for their different shows creating several options within 20 miles in either direction our little town of shows to view. I had been waiting for this moment since the night we moved in. Six months of anticipation thinking of how incredible it would feel to float on the water and watch the glory that is a great fireworks show over the water. Dennis’ parents came to the dinner party and brought along two of their friends that were unexpectedly in the area. It was a fun evening. We enjoyed the beautiful weather out on the deck with drinks and snacks. For dinner we had grilled hamburgers, grilled corn on the cob, barbecue beans, and for dessert we had homemade caramel apple pie from scratch. I’d made the pie one other time and I was thrilled that it came out as delicious as it had the first time. We spent some time chatting after dinner and then we all headed over to the campground – them in their car and us in the boat.

Our boat was still illegal – it’s green/red front navigation light was out. We stopped by Ringo’s Marina near the public boat dock and picked up a battery operated light. Dennis taught me what the lights meant – red means the boat is moving right to left across the water, green means the boat is moving left to right. If you see red and green, the boat is coming towards you – that means move over. Ha! In the boat, we stick to the right side of the water when passing, the same as we do in a car on the road here in the US. The difference in the boat is that the driver sits on the right. Ringo’s was busy with the holiday vacationers. Boats getting gas, people picking up last minute supplies – all with happy faces, moving quickly here and there to get ready for the night. Dennis ran in and got our light, brought it out and installed it. I often think about whether I could do everything by myself here on the lake if I were alone. I’m not sure if the answer is yes, but I can say that I’m very happy to have a partner in this adventure. It sure makes everything easier and more enjoyable to have someone to share it all with.

Dennis’ parents are here visiting for the summer – staying in the local Osprey Campground for the month of July. It’s a beautiful campground with lots of amenities. We wanted to stop by and see them before heading out for the evening on the water to watch the fireworks show. They had planned to stay behind with the pets in the motorhome just in case they got too anxious from all of the loud explosions. We spent some time chatting with them and having drinks. When it began to get a little later, Dennis and I walked back over to the public boat dock to get back in the boat and stake out a spot for the celebration. We had a wobbly start because a Sheriff’s boat had parked behind us, making it a bit more difficult to get out of our spot without hitting his boat. It was pretty intimidating since he was the sheriff! Dennis did a great job in the end and we pulled out free and clear of any collisions.

Looking out across the lake, the boat lights glistened in the air and in the water’s reflection. Little red and green lights on the fronts and a larger yellowish-white light on the backs of the boats. They twinkled as the atmosphere and the water rippled in the breeze. The afternoon wind had died off, the sun was warm, and the light breeze felt nice. We meandered across the main portion of the lake and found an empty spot to put down the anchor. I couldn’t get over the beauty of the little lights shimmering everywhere and the energy that filled the air. It was thrilling before the show ever began.

Then, off in the distance, we could faintly hear the national anthem being sung by a woman. Everyone settled down and got quiet as we stood in our boats listening to her beautiful voice. I wished I could have heard her better but I imagine getting good speakers out onto the barge on a lake is no easy or inexpensive task. When she finished her last note, everyone cheered and clapped and hollered. Within moments, the first BOOM exploded through the air and the sprinkle of sparks flew the through the sky. Pink, red, purple, blue, orange, gold and silver sparked and sprinkled down us on like a shower. The colors filled the water with their reflection – giving us two fireworks for every one that was shot into the sky. Each explosion somehow a bit louder and more exciting than the last. The echo through the canyon was enormous! I had never heard anything like it. The way it would boom and then bounce off of the mountains and come back towards us and them boom again – repeating the pattern until it was nothing more than the sound of a board falling onto another board somewhere far in the distance. I giggled and cheered and enjoyed every minute of the thirty minute show they provided for all of us. It was just magnificent!

Everyone clapped and cheered and hollered at the end with a loud roar of thankfulness for the wonderful show. The boats began to head back to their respective houses on the lake. Little white lights moving away from us slowly in either direction – some headed back into South Lake and some headed into the canal towards North Lake. We waited it out a bit, much like a rock concert we didn’t want to get tangled up in the traffic. I was glad we stayed back for a while as there were people on the shore with more fireworks to display over on Wulfie Beach (our local sandy beach access for Tenmile Lake). We enjoyed the beach show for a bit and then headed over to the canal that connects South and North Tenmile Lake – headed for our home on North Lake.

Floating through the canal felt like we were transported to Disneyland and we were riding the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride. The little white lights ahead, all following the leader. I could hear the song they play on the ride in the background of my imagination. When we exited the canal and the no wake zone, the boats all got up to speed, headed out across the vast amount of water to their individual homes. It was dark and we couldn’t see their wakes. Wanting to stay out in the center (the safest place in the lake from logs and debris), we were getting waked by the other boats that insisted on hugging the shoreline. We rocked side to side a few times in a big wake – that got my heart racing! But Dennis had us back on track and floating along smoothly within moments. As we arrived at our arm of the lake, there were more fireworks shooting up into the sky from the Sunlake Marina. Dennis turned off the boat and we drifted for a bit while we watched the other show of lights and sparks and color. Chilled from our boat ride, I was ready to pull into our dock. Dennis drove us over and as we parked and got out of the boat, we could hear kids and adults playing and having fun. It made me smile from ear to ear. I love the idea that we live in a place where people come to have fun and get away from their every day lives. It feels so special, especially on such a magical night.

Did you enjoy the fireworks somewhere beautiful this year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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