Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rise Above or Sink Below

The beauty of the beach is that nothing much happens at the beach.

Oh, sure, the Beauty and I headed north for a walk only to be showered on repeatedly. The sun was either beating on our backs or the rain was dripping off our hats. While other people began to pack up to leave the beach, we kept walking and talking.

The sky was full of ominous-looking clouds on the sound side, but I ignored them for the sake of the abundance of seashells washed up on the beach, probably a function of last week's hurricane. This is my fourth time down here this summer and I picked up more shells on today's walk than on the other three weeks combined.

On the way back down the beach to the cottage, a man planted himself in the middle of the beach so Beauty and I had to both walk around him. "Really, you're going to make us split the difference?" I joked as we made our way on either side of him.

"Karen! It's me!" my now-bearded brother-in-law said. Seems Sister #6 had spotted Beauty and me walking down the beach and instructed her husband to flag us down. I'm not sure who was more surprised at the accidental meeting, me or the Beauty.

You just never know who you'll meet on the beach.

When the menfolk headed out to do hunting and gathering, Pru and I used the lull to set up camp on the beach. She brought a stainless slotted spoon from the kitchen, the better to dig a hole for the umbrella, while I was in charge of seeing that the bottle of Moet et Chandon made it safely to the spot between our beach chairs.

Earlier, when we'd walked, the "Dangerous Current" flags had been up all along our path to Jeannette's Pier, but by the time we returned, Beau said the swimming ban had been lifted. Given how mild the ocean temperature was, it was practically an invitation to hit the water.

After the guys returned, they (and Beauty) joined us at the beach for Domaine du Loriot Menetou-Salon and a cheese and charcuterie break while we watched a group of surfers take advantage of the better-than-usual wave action. The encroaching high tide overtook my chair while I was in the water, resulting in a soggy book (what's a beach week without baptizing your reading material?) and forcing us to relocate at one point to a more protected perch.

Our biggest accomplishment of the afternoon was killing a third bottle, this time of Whispering Angel Rose and making a group commitment to leave for the restaurant at the Outer Banks Pier by 7:30. An evening out necessitated elevated hygiene, so Beau kindly removed the chairs that had been stored in the outdoor shower during Florence so I could have my first outdoor shower of the week.

I won't even deign to comment on the fact that I was the first. I'm not here to judge, only to relax.

Our caravan set out for the pier barely half a mile away, secure in the knowledge that we could walk home if we needed to, assuming, that is, that we could find the beach house from the ocean side under cover of night.

It's a glorious thing to enjoy a breezy 76-degree night at a table on a pier over crashing surf. A trio was playing songs like Duncan Shiek's "Barely Breathing" and strings of lights overhead made things feel festive. We'd discovered this place last year and so enjoyed our dinner al fresco that we decided to do it again.

Choosing what to eat was easy as far as I was concerned because what's better pier food than a basket of fried shrimp with slaw and fries? Queen B's burger maybe? Or Beau's fish tacos? All good, all made better by a day of salty air.

Nope, thinking back over the day, I can't say much of anything was accomplished. As someone said on the deck this morning while they were all sucking back caffeine, "It's never too early for drinking or napping on vacation."

And never too late to be doing nothing at all. Ain't beach life grand?

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