The riddle of the tides...

Donna woke me up early Tuesday, June 29th, Day 8, so that we could go down to the beach and watch the sunrise over the ocean. It was a remarkable morning. There were some clouds on the horizon, but when the sun peeked through it was just magic. Colors blazed across the sky. I found more seashells. I was getting quite a selection. Donna cooked me breakfast back at the house.
Sunrise at the Outer Banks
It was a "free day," one where we could do whatever we wanted. Dianne and Donna's dad were going bike riding, and I thought I'd join them. I forgot to pack my bike helmet, but there were plenty of people riding bikes without helmets. I followed the two of them out of the neighborhood and down the bike trails towards downtown Duck. I wanted to slow down in parts and look at stuff, but they just kept getting ahead of me. It was tough keeping up with them. After a couple of miles, beyond the greater Duck area, I said I was going to head back. That gave me a chance to coast down the gentle hills and enjoy the morning. Most of the drivers were respectful of people on bicycles, but one guy in leaving a parking lot drove his truck right in front of me. I had to swerve to avoid crashing into him. A sympathetic girl on a bike passed me shaking her head, saying, "I saw that!"

After I got back to the house, Nick and I went for a drive in the van. I needed to get some groceries, but the K-Mart in Kitty Hawk didn't have what I wanted. Nick found a game there, though. Food Lions were in every town we passed on the east coast. At the one down the road, we got the groceries we wanted, plus some tasty strawberry nectar sodas. I also spotted where the post office was. When we returned, I took a short nap before lunch: ham sandwiches. That was the afternoon we all went to the beach and did the beach bum bit, getting tans and playing in the surf. The beach was loud and really crowded, a far cry from the deserted peace of the early morning. I played in the surf, letting the incoming waves crash over me. Nick even got his feet wet. When I wasn't splashing around, I'd lie down floating in the salty water and ride the waves. Something, maybe a little crab, bit me while I was playing in the water. I knew it wasn't a sharp rock, because I could feel it clamping down on my toe. Squadrons of pelicans patrolled the beach for food, flying north and then back south again.

When I got tired, I went back up on the beach and read my book. The harmony of reading "Moby Dick" within sight of the ocean was not lost on me. I managed to get sunburned in streaks: bright red in all the spots I couldn't reach with my suntan lotion. When we got back to the house, I swam in the backyard pool. It was wonderfully decadent, and I wondered what it must be like for people to live there year-round. During the week so far, I'd picked up a bunch of postcards, and I wrote out messages to friends back in the Midwest. I still had no stamps, though. So, I thought I'd go for a walk down to the Duck Post Office. I was a little surprised when Nick and Zack asked to come along. It was quite a hike over the low hills of the island, but the guys never complained once during the whole walk. All together, it was about a four-mile hike, there and back again. We were lucky to get to the post office within minutes of it closing.

When we got back, we all ate a huge home-made spaghetti supper. It was wonderful. Afterwards, I lounged in the hot tub. It got me thinking about the simple pleasures of life: a cool breeze, the splash of a wave, the swoop of a gull... these were real, honest pleasures, the kinds of things that sank deep within you and stayed with you for a lifetime... the kind of pleasures that wouldn't be sophisticated enough for the high-rollers, the players, the "in-crowd," the kinds of people whose only joys come from tentative social standings and the manipulations of personal relationships... How bleak their lives must be, I thought, how shallow. The guys and me stayed up late watching the movie "Rocky II."

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Day 8 -- Day 9 -- Day 10 -- Day 11 -- Day 12 -- Day 13 
 All original content copyright 2004 (c) by Tim Frayser