By the sea, by the sea...

Sunday, June 27th,  Day 6, I woke up feeling like I'd slept for a week. It was an overcast but bright morning, like the first day of the new world. The beach itself was only a block or so away, so we all went for a walk. We went through the little neighborhood, past other 3-story beach houses, along a boardwalk between two nice homes, and there it was– the Atlantic Ocean! I hadn't seen the ocean since 1986, when I went to Florida for my cousin's wedding. There were only a few people on the beach at that early hour.
The beach at Duck extended as far as I could see to the north and south. I had on my shorts, so I went wading in the ocean, letting the waves slap up against my legs. The water was chilly at first, but I got used to it. I started to find seashells, and what I thought were small rocks, but they were in fact other seashells, polished by the tides into smooth objects. Every time I went to the beach, I filled my pockets with shells. It was amazing to breathe that fresh, ocean air.
There was nothing for breakfast, so Donna and I went down to the Wee Winks convenience store (the only one in town) for some eggs. I tried to buy beer, too, but couldn't; because of the local laws, you can't buy beer before noon on Sunday. Was it only Sunday? It felt like I'd been on the road for a month. There were lots of postcards and souvenirs at the store, many with the mark OBX. I asked what that meant, and the owner enunciated slowly: "Outer BankX." Well, duh.

After breakfast, I lounged on one of the balconies and read a book. It felt great to not have to be anywhere, not have to be doing anything. Donna's dad talked me into a short game of horseshoes. I tried to get some interest in "Klingon horseshoes," where you throw the horseshoes overhand, but it didn't catch on. (It makes the game a lot more extreme.) I hadn't shaved since leaving Oklahoma, so I went in our private bathroom and freshened up. I started to go on a bike ride, but I was met with sprinkles before I got a couple of blocks. I made myself a sandwich, then took a short nap. I was catching up on my sack time.
That evening, we went back to the beach to play in the surf and find more seashells. The tides were fascinating, watching the waves rush in to the beach. Sometimes, a big wave would push a bunch of water up on the beach, and before it had a chance to roll back, another wave would crash in, so sometimes you'd feel water rushing across your legs from opposite directions. In between rushes of surf, when the foam would clear, colorful shells would appear in the sand– but only briefly, as the outrushing water would sweep them away as quickly as they appeared. In the middle of one wave, I spotted a particularly beautiful shell, but as I reached into the water to get it, I heard my wife say, "Look out!" and I looked up just in time for the next wave...! When I was able to stand up again, I wiped the water from my face and said, "They're right... the ocean really is salty..." 

We imagined moving to an ocean-side address (bankrolled by the $200 million lottery ticket I got on our trip to North Carolina). I wondered what it would be like living within sight of the ocean, within reach of the tides, your hands on the pulse of the planet...

The Atlantic Ocean (and me)

Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 -- Day 5 -- Day 6 -- Day 7 
Day 8 -- Day 9 -- Day 10 -- Day 11 -- Day 12 -- Day 13 
All original content copyright (c) 2004 by Tim Frayser