So I entered a submission for “love stories pertaining to bodies of water” (specific, don’t I know it) from a Canadian environmental magazine. Now, I work for a Canadian manufacturer in the environmental field even though I am based out of Texas, so that’s how I can see these sorts of things. And lo and behold- I DO have a love story that pertains to a body of water… it just happened to be in Texas. Unfortunately the whole article concept was scrapped because I was the only one who submitted anything and a lone Texas story in a Canadian magazine wasn’t really what they were after. But I’ll be damned if I won’t share it here! So I give you… a love story.
I love rivers. My husband loves the ocean. It makes perfect, if slightly ironic sense that we met at a lake.
I had moved to Austin for college and was going through water withdrawal. I grew up in a town with 2 rivers running through it; I was never more than five minutes away from jumping in cool water on a hot summer day for all of those early years. And Austin is a green city, with a river running through the middle… but water you don’t want to jump in was a new one to me. Town Lake (inventive name, Austin) is the section of the Colorado River that runs through town, of course. I crossed it every day on my way to and from school. But there would be no swimming in Town Lake… it wasn’t THAT kind of lake. In fact, today I’m impressed with the courage of folks who paddle-board on it. What if you fall in, people? That is more faith in balance skills than I have, personally. So I saw water every day… but I couldn’t touch it, and I thought it was the only water around. I felt like I lived in a desert, honestly, in those early days in my new home.
Then one spring night my brother and I went camping at Lake Travis, just outside of Austin, with a large group of waiters from his work and their friends. There was a campfire. A guitar. Laughing. Talking. Stars overhead and a lake near at hand. It was too cold to go swimming, but THIS was water you could touch if you wanted to. It was a revelation- I hadn’t even know about this lake before that night! Driving home the next day, with classes to try to make, my brother turned to me and said “That Luke would make a good brother-in-law.” I do believe my response was to ask which one was Luke? But once a name was put with the handsome face… I didn’t disagree. Now mind you, I hadn’t said much to this stranger, it wasn’t like we stayed up all night talking and staring moodily into each others eyes or anything. He was just the shining star on the other side of a campfire, lighting up that night on top of the cliffs overlooking Lake Travis.
Soon afterwards this stranger with the wild bachelor reputation and I met again. And I can be forgiven for asking “which one was Luke” considering he called me Beth on our second meeting. He redeemed himself enough for us to wind up dancing that night, outside of the show we were both at. An official first date would follow, after some cajoling on his part. I was 19 and he felt like destiny- to say finding him so young wasn’t in the plan would be an understatement. And I was right about that too, because at the end of that first date he picked me up and swung me around and said he was going to marry me- and I told him that yes, he most certainly was.
And so it went- we spent many of our next years living in Austin and driving to Lake Travis every chance we got. I never got used to the fact that it took us 45 minutes to get to swimmable water, but at least there WAS water to swim in! We cooked, we swam, we camped, we laughed, and we lived… and 4 years later, exactly on the cliff overlooking Lake Travis where we met, he asked me to marry him. He seemed quite nervous honestly, considering the answer would have never been anything but yes.
And we are water folk to this day- fishing, paddling, camping, tubing, and swimming. When life picks up speed and it goes too long without it we feel it in our bones- and getting “on the water” becomes a priority. Our toddler loves her life jacket so much she wears it around the house and our older girls learned to swim against the current of the clean and clear San Marcos river. Water runs through our life like…well. You know.
And so we love the ocean. And we love the rivers. And we also still love one very special lake… where it all began all those 19 years ago.