Anarchy could be defined as a society without rules or government. If we lived in a community like this we could do what we want build what we want in any shape size or color. We could let the dogs run wild, ride our ATV’s, party late and pretty much disregard the rights of others.

It’s a bit different when we share the space where we live with several hundred other people, each with their own likes and dislikes and ideas on how things should be. The sharing of the land and resources is called community. It is easy to see that it takes a certain kind of individual to live in a community and yet still allow for that individual to have a sense of freedom and expression.

Almost 50 years ago, my wife, Diane, and I decided to leave the big city of Pittsburgh and retire to a small lakeside community in the mountains called Deer Lake. We like Pittsburgh and still do, but we wanted a place where we could raise our three children in a safe outdoor environment. Our children were able to walk to the school bus stop, and after school they could join their friends for bike riding, swimming or take the kayak out on the lake.

In the winter, the sled hill doubled as a great place to learn to cross-country ski and some big Northern Pike were taken ice fishing on the lake. We saw our first big snake just days after moving into our home and realized they are just part of living in the mountains and sharing the land. It was a few years before we saw our first bear and today they are more common than when we first came here. Last year, I saw mamma bear and two little ones on the bike trail in Ohiopyle and have seen an occasional bald eagle perched on a tree branch or flying down the river canyon.

Today, I went for a swim in our newly restored lake and have been swimming on most days when the weather co-operates. Swimming is one of the best exercises as we age and when you finish nothing hurts and you feel refreshed. A few days ago, I took the kayak out on the lake and watched the sun set over the mountains. As the sun lowered on the horizon, I could feel the serenity and peace that come from living near the water. Serenity is defined as that peace, calm and undistributed quiet that is certainly hard to find in our hectic world today.

Our Deer Lake community just completed restoring the lake along with a new dam and a walking bridge. It took 10 years to complete and cost over $2,500,000, which was funded entirely by the property owners. Not a penny of government money was involved and some owners took out home equity loans to pay their share of the costs.

It speaks loudly about the type of individuals who live at Deer Lake; and as you go around our community, you can feel the renewed spirit that is taking hold. This Fourth of July saw all kinds of activities for our families and it was like old home week with so many of our old-timers mixing in with our newer families who have recently decided to retire or raise their families and be a part of the community.

We do have a set of rules to govern our community and these rules are known as “continuity,” which is defined as the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time. Deer Lake has been here for over 100 years and with our restored lake we are looking forward to the next century. Thinking about retiring or want a great place to raise your family and enjoy the outdoors you may want to think about Deer Lake. Since we are a private community please respect our trespass rules.

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