What I Did During My Summer Vacation

As I write this discussing Hurricane Isaias, my thoughts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Laura. I hope that everyone has evacuated, are safe, and those who cannot, I’m sending so many good thoughts to you.

It’s probably redundant for me to say this, but vacation was different this year. Vastly different. And, yet, you know, it was excellent.

The beginning, however, gave me pause. First off, Hurricane Isaias threatened as we were going to Southern Shores, NC. While Hatteras Island evacuated, the upper part of the Outer Banks did not so when the decision was made around noon, we packed. As we tried to leave the neighborhood, the unthinkable happened. The brakes didn’t work. We came home, unpacked, and tried to determine our next move. It was Sunday so the garage wasn’t open. After weighing options, figuring in the hurricane and the van fixing, we decided we probably wouldn’t head out until Wednesday morning. Finally, there were smiles. The hurricane did little damage around here on Tuesday so we headed out late afternoon on Tuesday instead.

Around 8 pm give or take we arrived in Southern Shores. The pool was full of leaves. The roads had some puddles, the world resounded with frog calls, but mostly it was hard to tell a storm had come through.

Sophie in the shade of a table. OBX 2020

I started mentally writing this post even while I was on vacation because I wanted to share with you the opportunity that we had to experience our vacation on an entirely different level than ever before. This was a year of slowing it all down (yeah, I know, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on vacation?). We didn’t go out every night for dinner as had been our habit. We cooked. Enjoyed beverages on the deck. Watched for meteors, saw some–the Perseids! Observed hummingbirds. Saw anoles and skinks. Heard a screech owl, which was why the bats disappeared that night; screech owls eat them!

Watched the moon rise:

Moon Rise, OBX 2020

We swam. We talked. Read. Talked some more. But most of all we noticed. We walked around the neighborhood, a new neighborhood to walk in.

One evening as dusk was falling, a flock of robins began flying overhead from the west. Soon, a murder of crows flew in from the south. Their paths crossed. One group flew high, the other low. This happened every evening. The robins settled somewhere closer to the sea while the crows found their roosts in trees nearby, very loudly. This is something I’d never seen before despite the fact that it must have happened every evening for years. Was I too busy cleaning up and getting ready to go out for dinner?

While I tried to get pics of both, only the crows came out well.

Crows, settling in for the evening.

Foxes. Deer. Bats. If you look, you see. Sometimes, it takes more than looking. A doe and her fawn appeared several days, one day when my mind was far away, my brain slowly awakened to see them before me.

In the same spot, a day or so earlier, there were two bucks. Sorry, the quality of this photo isn’t so great.

Bucks, OBX 2020

While I didn’t have an anole crawl on me like last year, I did catch a picture of one nevertheless, a little bit more at distance. 😉 We shared a nice conversation. He seemed friendly enough…tried to sell me car insurance.

Green anole
Flycatcher

And, as you can imagine, vacation was also bittersweet. If you’ve had a dog in your life who’ve you’ve literally only been separated from for one night and work days here and there and hardly at all in recent years, who’d pop into your office and lie down on his bed to be near you while you were proofing a document, or just be that loving soul in your life, you can imagine what it’s like to not have that being with you. So many days and nights when it was only you two. You know what it’s like to go anywhere that you’ve shared together and to not have him there. Yes, tears were shed for Scout, like most days since July 2. Even if he could not be there in body, he was in my heart.

Maybe he sent this rainbow:

Rainbow, 8 2020 OBX

For being our average vacation, the one we’ve taken for 20 years so that we could also vacation with our dogs, this vacation was anything but average. It became remarkable in a way that was unexpected. While I’ve been imploring with everyone to take advantage of this time, get out and notice things, see with new eyes, that’s exactly what we did. We may not have sampled the scrumptious food that we usually adore on OBX, but we did have quality time. We came away with more appreciation for the world around us.

For moments, I may have even felt like Thoreau.

I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. if this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.—Journal, 3 January 1853

5 replies »

  1. Love the pics. Where I am now, nature feels far away. I miss the daily sightings I had at my ranch.

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