The Lady of the Lake

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The lake at Celebration, Florida, across from the hotel

Model of the first phase of construction at Celebration

Downtown Celebration along the lakefront

Large house in Celebration

Smaller houses in Celebration

"This is a surprise; I didn't expect to find a resident spirit in an artificial lake in a New Urbanist suburban development. It doesn't seem right, somehow."

"But I'm really busy. This place advertises itself as bringing back old time roots and community, right? So it's got to have a spirit of the place. That's me."

"What do you do?"

"Not just lounge around in this lake, that's for sure. I have to hover over block parties, I try keep school committee meetings civil, I check out children's play groups, and on top of all that, I have to spend way too much time in the real estate sales office."

"That doesn't seem very spiritual."

"Real estate is where it's at! Go look at all those pictures, and watch the sales film. They are full of heavy duty spirit of the place stuff. I have to lend an aura -- the place isn't all built up yet, so it's up to me to get the clientele feeling the vibes."

"Is it hard work?"

"Compared to the old days, a lot harder. Then you could sit back and let the landscape do most of the work."

"The landscape is the same here as in those other developments down the road. They have lakes too. So what's the difference?"

"They have no spirits. To get one of us you have to apply to a central bureau in Miami and meet strict requirements. We don't go just anywhere."

"Who sets the standards for what place gets a spirit?"

"The Miami office has a whole list of requirements. Then once we're on duty we have to monitor compliance with the standards. It's not easy watching over street widths and porch railings."

"Does the Miami office get applications from places that try to lure one of you in on false pretenses?"

"All the time. But we spirits depart quickly if the place doesn't measure up. We're pretty mobile when we have to be."

"That's a change from the old days?"

"Well, truth to tell, the old days may have been smoother but they could be a little boring. Of course we didn't really notice that until things began to speed up."