Your Seawall is Alive
Lately I have been listening to the podcast, “Everything Is Alive.”
If you don’t know what podcasts are, one way to explain it is that they are radio shows that are broadcast over the internet. Most people listen to them from their phones. Many podcasts are documentary or interview-styled programs during which the hosts mumble around while trying to be sensitive, yet intelligent and funny. Think of it as NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion” without Keillor’s patented nose whistle.
The “Everything Is Alive” podcast is a show in which the host interviews inanimate objects; or at least, objects that we humans think are inanimate, such as lampposts, cans of generic cola, pillows and things of this nature. Through this podcast, I learn a lot about the lives of these objects and even about how we humans interact with them.
The podcast inspired me to seek out an alleged insentient thing that lives around Lake Martin to have a conversation. The following is a partial transcript, edited for story arc and potential future sponsors:
C: Could you introduce yourself, please, and let us know what you do?
JSW: Who is “us?” I am a little confused. Well, that’s all right. My name is Jeremy Seawall, and I am a seawall here on Lake Martin.
JC: And what does that mean to you? What does it mean to … to be a seawall?
JSW: First of all, there is a lot of confusion over my name. Obviously, there is no salt water here at Lake Martin, no sea at all. So some humans ask why my last name is Seawall. Well, I always like to point out that the folks on the coast call their walls, bulkheads. That makes no sense to me, as well. It seems like they should be called seawalls, too, but not if that means I have to change my name to Bulkhead. It sounds unflattering, and besides, it would render all my Lands’ End monogramed luggage completely useless. I just got a cute tote for my birthday.
JC: Jeremy, do you enjoy being a seawall? Do you find it exclusionary? Restraining?
JSW: I absolutely love it! Being a seawall is the best! I don’t feel restrained at all. I am here at a lot with a lake home on it. Some really lovely folks own it. Since it is on the water, this dirt is worth some money. The value of the land represents a sizable part of my owners’ investment. If something happens to the home, they can always rebuild. But if the land washes into the lake … Well, the way I look at it, I am keeping the most valuable part of their property safe. It only makes sense that lot owners should have someone like me to help them out.
JC: How long does the typical seawall last?
JSW: You mean like my lifespan? I don’t really like to think about that much, but I guess it is a fair question. Construction folks tell me that a concrete wall is the sturdiest choice for materials. I was glad to hear that since, obviously, I am concrete. My buddies that are wood last a long time, too. Rip rap – you know, the walls that are made of volleyball sized granite rocks that are piled up – does pretty well, but they need readjustment sometimes.
Really, it depends on things like quality of construction, and if the wall is exposed to lots of heavy waves. The more waves that pound against seawalls day by day can expose a wall’s faults very quickly.
I have seen poorly built wooden walls go down in a matter of months because they were in high boat traffic areas. A concrete wall like me – with my deep footings, tie back, and rip rap at my base – well, they tell me that I can last many decades with routine maintenance; however, I will admit that, as they say, water always wins. Given enough time and enough pressure, water is a universal solvent.
JC: That’s pretty deep.
JSW: Thanks, man. Trust me, I think about that concept a lot.
JC: Speaking of maintenance, how do you prefer that your humans keep you running smoothly?
JSW: Just the basic stuff, I guess. Like right now during the winter, the lake level is drawn down 7 feet. I love this time of year. I get to breathe a little, ya’ know? Let the wind blow across me; air out a bit. My humans are pretty good about checking for cracks in me and piling back the rocks at my base. That is a key move to prevent erosion from happening under my footings, and I really appreciate that.
C: Any Christmas wishes, Jeremy?
JSW: Not many. Maybe they could swag some garland down me? Like with some of those colorful lights? I mean, with the water down, I am finally exposed now, and I have plenty of area for decoration. I hate to see it go to waste. If everyone did it, maybe there could be boat parades and tours where folks ride around and check out the seawalls with the most Christmas spirit. But if that is too much of a hassle, I am cool with it. Like I said, I love my job, and if you love what you do, you never have a day of work. That is how I feel.
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John Coley is a full-time real estate agent specializing in waterfront property on Lake Martin, Alabama. He is the Broker and Owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty and has a website called Lake Martin Voice where he blogs about Lake Martin real estate and area information. This article originally appeared on Lake Martin Voice.
All analysis, charts, and statistics in this article are the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty, 8424 Kowaliga Road, Suite A, Eclectic, AL, 36024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to John Coley and LakeMartinVoice.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.