Ocracoke Vacation — Day One, October 24

Two female Northern Harriers floated over the largest expanse of marsh across which I’ve ever driven. In the grace of their casually lifted wings, I was made to wonder again if there will be avocets where I’m going. I don’t expect it, unless I go farther up the banks to Pea Island, but the idea of staying in one place to specialize on one island only is appealing more and more. A man walks the road carrying a cudgel, against what danger I’m not sure, afternoon sunlight at his back, his shadow already twice his own length. I’ll see the sun set from the boat.

Cedar Island is the southern land approach to Pamlico Sound before taking the ferry across to Ocracoke. If anything at Ocracoke is more beautiful than what I’ve seen here, my senses will not be prepared to take it in. The closer I get, the slower I’m going.

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Along the way, sky and water darken and merge while the nearly full moon lights up the half-empty deck. It’s a good place to feel myself becoming distant from the mainland. For two hours, fifteen minutes, I walk and think and listen.

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But it’s not all solitude. A woman and I recognize each other from college, and we spend a little conversation catching up. It had been seven or eight years since we’d seen each other. She’s going to Ocracoke with one of her daughters to instruct teachers who are taking a renewal getaway course that the state of NC provides. She is a poet, and her gravitation toward the island solidifies my belief that Ocracoke is a good place for writers to spend some time.

The mature darkness of 8:15 allows me to enter the island modestly, unobserved by most of the residents. When the sun comes up, I’ll already be here, taking my time like I belong. I check into my rented cottage tomorrow, but tonight the Pony Island Hotel is a comfortable place after the ten-hour trip.

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Published in: on November 3, 2007 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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