Midnight Stroll: The Lake at Crescent Lakes

       
    
    
        
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477 Oxbow
Sugar Land, TX  77479
281-634-9555
   April 2004–Driving around Sugar Land, Southwest of Houston, my boyfriend and I could not think of a place where we could just spend quality time together.  The “in” places to go in Houston reflect the Houstonian population.  Houston is an economic power house and a very prominent city in the United States.  The people of Houston encompass characteristics of city life as well as “family life.”  Eventually, we circled into a prominent family neighborhood and noticed the lake that had been built in the middle of it.  The neighborhood itself was a reflection of suburban, family-centered life in the Houston area.  My boyfriend and I pulled into the neighborhood pool parking lot at Crescent Lakes in Sugar Land.  He turned off his black Ford Explorer, and ran to my door in his black slacks and baby blue, button-down dress shirt to open the door valet-style.  He stuck out his right hand to help me out of his sports utility vehicle.  I had bought an outfit just for our date from Express in the First Colony Mall.  I was wearing a black skirt that made a v-shape right below my knees and a green v-necked, short-sleeved top that matched the color of my eyes.  However, the killer was the black, open-toed, high-heeled Mia shoes that were excruciatingly painful to walk in.

Sugar Land is a planned community in the Southwest side of Houston.  Whether it is the prestigious Sweetwater Country Club, First Colony Mall, or the Sweetwater mansions, Sugar Land represents the “ideal” environment that many Houstonians wish to be a part of.  Sugar Land is an area of constant development and expansion.  As a renowned city, Houston is constantly expanding and demonstrating its power by “flexing its muscles” and showing off to the United States.  We have a very high standard of living which is further emphasized in the Sugar Land area.  Sitting on approximately 9,700 acres, Sugar Land began developing in 1977 and includes houses ranging from approximately $100,000- $800,000 with some neighborhoods in the millions of dollars (Feser).  The Crescent Lakes neighborhood, where this lake is located, was established in 1992 and the homes range from $195,000-$269,000 (Feser). 

On this Saturday night, after finally managing to get out of his car, we both looked up at the 
glittering stars above that showed so brightly in front of the clear night sky.  The stars, planets, moon, and constellations have always fascinated me.  However, in many parts of Houston, pollution, smog, or simply a cloudy night inhibit the stars from being seen in their “best light.” As I tried to point out Orion, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and the North Star, my boyfriend kept looking at me with that dazed look sparkling out of his hazel eyes.  All of the sudden, I felt a gust of cold air and I got goose bumps all over my body.  Shivering, I began to rub my arms.  He hurried back to his car and brought back a black puffer jacket for me to wear. 

After I named the constellations, my boyfriend challenged me.  He claimed that it is easy to distinguish the stars on a clear night, but distinguishing them by viewing their reflection in the lake would be much more challenging and worthy of my knowledge.  Although I knew he was mocking me, I still played along.  The lake was behind the neighborhood pool, so we had to walk around it via a trail.  This “yellow-brick road” would lead us into another moment, another memory, another emotion that we could share together. We walked about fifty feet to the beginning of the gravel trail that had logs placed on both sides as a separation from the freshly-cut, green blades of grass that were moist with the evening dew.  He put his arm around me and held me tight to his side as we began to stroll alongside the lake. 

The moonlight was reflecting off of water, and it glittered throughout the calm waves that flowed horizontally across the lake.  The stars glowed to illuminate us with a subtle, romantic, natural light to help guide us.  A few ducks lingered close by, and at first they waddled close to us.  “Quack, Quack!” they began to speak to us in a defensive way.  They were probably wondering why aliens were invading their natural habitat.  After about ten seconds of glaring, they gave up their territory and began to swim through the water effortlessly and with the utmost grace.  The only noise that we could hear was the initial jump and the sound of the feathers slicing into the water assuming their position at the side of the duck.  There were two large ducks, which we imagined were husband and wife, probably newlyweds because of the way they swam so close to one another.  One duck was embodied with a set of white, slightly hinted with brown, feathers and the other one was covered with green, black, and white feathers.  Five yellow ducklings followed close behind them like an army behind a drill sergeant. 

 Then, only fitting of my boyfriend’s usual silly behavior, he picked me up and threatened to throw me into the lake to swim with the ducks.  He put one arm around my back and under my right arm, and he placed his other arm underneath my legs.  In this position, I kicked my legs into the air as I held onto him by holding his neck tightly with my arms.  I remember screaming and begging him to put me down.  I used the phrase, “You better put me down, or else,” at least ten times.  Of course, he simply mocked me and loved to fake throwing me into the algae filled water because he enjoyed seeing me squirm. 

At the lake, we felt comfortable with one another.  The lake is home to over 25 different animals and 50 different plant species (Rukab).  In 1997, Albatross were spotted at the lake, and many individuals came to take pictures of the aesthetic and rare birds.  In this way, it brought more people together, which helps emphasize the importance of this lake in Houston.

The only separation from the lake and the backyards of many homeowners is a four-foot iron-rod fence that serves as a barrier between each home and the shallow drop to the lake below.  Middle aged men and women go for morning, afternoon, or evening jogs or bike rides around the lake.  In this way, the lake serves as a “promoter” for a healthier life.  A son and father can take a canoe out and fish for catfish, which allots for bonding time that we do not always have. 

Two young boys in shorts and baseball caps could ride their bikes along the lake.  Occasionally, they will get off of the gravel and onto the grass.  With each turn of the pedal, the wheels crunch into broken tree branches and twigs.  Then they put their bikes in low gear as they try to ride with the least effort through the grass.  At some point, they will both throw their bikes down and sit on the grass.  Here, friends become best friends and share secrets that only the trees and lake can hear.  Establishing relationships and friendships also helps to depict “southern hospitality” and the importance of such relationships in developing our city.

The picnic benches located on patches of grass that protrude into the lake like a peninsula are perfect spots for Sunday afternoon lunch with the whole family.  A picnic basket, large blanket, extra white- bread to feed the ducks, portable boom box to listen to your favorite tunes, and most importantly, your loved ones, is all you need to enjoy a sunny, breezy day at the lake. I can just taste the hotdogs roasting on the charcoal picnic grill.

When people look at a lake, they usually don’t see much beyond its physical appearance.  They notice the fountain in the background and the water surrounded with a walking trail as well as algae building up near the surface.  However, there is more history than what appears to the naked eye.  The lake holds numerous memories of all kinds of individuals.  If you listen closely, you can hear whispers left behind from many families, walkers, lovers, or bicyclers that walked around the trail.  The taste of the mist that disperses off of the top of the lake will remain with you forever.

As Americans, we seem to forget the beauty that nature has offered us.  In lives filled with fast-food, fast-service, and fast-answers, we don’t enjoy the simple aspects of life.  We are more worried about the next deadline or appointment, and we forget to embrace life as we run around in panic.   

Houston is a community of different races, cultures, and people.  The lake is a very important part of Houston for numerous reasons.  Taking a stroll around a lake with a loved one, or even alone, can give u a new insight on life and calm you in unimaginable ways.  It is a free form of therapy that nature has given for our enjoyment.  For me, it brings me back to the times when life seemed simpler and innocent.  Times when I could ride my bike, enjoy a picnic, and actually communicate with my family.  Times when the biggest problem was deciding what I was going to wear the next day.  Times of youth and that carefree feeling that brings you to a tranquil place.  When you feel like your life is moving too fast, and you are flustered and confused, return to the simple values of life, nature.  Visit the lake located in the Cove at Crescent Lakes in Sugar Land to add true meaning and insight to your life.  You are guaranteed to leave with a memory imprinted in your mind and heart forever and you will become a part of the lake as much as it becomes a part of you.

Finally, after much begging and pleading, I convinced him to put me back on the ground.  We had only been dating a few weeks at that point, and we had yet to share our first kiss.  As soon as he put me down, I lost my balance and fell forward and put my hands on his chest for support.  He looked into my eyes and leaned in.  At that moment, I felt the rush and excitement as well as the breeze spinning off of the water.  The only thing I could hear was the wind brushing against the leaves of the Oak trees that surrounded the lake, as well as a few dogs barking nearby.  The kiss was amazing, his lips were so soft, and it felt like we connected both physically and emotionally.  After a few minutes, we began to walk back towards his car, away from the lake that would forever hold our memory.

Map

Links

City of Sugar Land

First Colony Mall

Sugar Land Town Square

Constellations

Fort Bend County

       
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