2014 Caroline Lacy – “The Lake” These photographs are copyright Caroline Lacey and are used here by permission. They may not be used elsewhere without her permission. In 2011 there was a massive outbreak of tornados—it was said that there were more tornados in a single day during this time than ever before recorded. 177 tornadoes hit Alabama that year, more than any other state, and over 55 of them were in two days, April 26th and 27th. Our family’s lake house sits on the edge of the Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. I have been running around its edges since before I can remember. The wasn’t just destroyed but completely taken up by one of the tornados. We have had a spectrum of life events there—beautiful news and devastating trauma. My cousin and I found this quote by George Elliot that suited our mood about the place perfectly, “We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.” This was our family’s inaugural trip back to the house. There was excitement but more strongly an awareness that this would be different.. The old house, the jean blue couch and faded coffee mugs, all lay at the bottom of the lake. We remember this when dip our toes in. These photographs were a way of marking the new growth in the landscape, of filling the space and leaving traces of ourselves to come back to. Topper told the room that he was thankful for cotton, because it made his clothes. A broken shard of a bathroom mirror reflects the lake. Everything was creamy and comforting. The best holiday to fill a new house. Alabama lost in one of footballs most epic games. This is a memory we will try to forget. The new house was built around our ever-growing, ever-changing family. The twins, Annie and Mae Mae, are seven-years-old now. They were only four when the tornado took our house up into the sky but they still remember it. This is the first time our family has been back to the lake in almost three years.