Last week, Mark and I unplugged our phones, disconnected our laptops, and packed our bags to roadtrip down to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina. Rather than posting while on vacation, I decided to take a week-long blog hiatus and spend some simple days soaking up the sun.
We dash through life in a hurry. Hurrying to get ready. Hurrying to get to work. Hurrying to get that promotion. Hurrying to pay the bills. Hurrying to answer emails, to help the customer, to meet the deadlines. Taking a week to just unplug and relax had the same affect on my brain and soul as soaking in a lavender-Epsom salt bath has on my body.
It. Was. So. Needed.
We didn't set alarms. We didn't worry about work. We didn't check our cell phones. In fact, Mark and I made a point to leave our phones at the condo whenever we went down to the seaside. I tell ya-- it's a nice day when your only worry is whether you need to apply more sunscreen after taking a dip in the ocean.
Ocean Isle Beach is located just across the Intercoastal Waterway in North Carolina, about 25 minutes north of North Myrtle Beach. While there are a number of pastel-painted houses cropping up on the tiny island, a goodly portion of Ocean Isle is devoted to salt marshes, sea grass, and sand dunes. Crabs scuttle about on the beach, and the crowds thin out during the week. As the tide rises and falls, pools of water form on the sand. Sunwarmed, these pools serve as a respite from the Southern heat. Floating aimlessly, you worry more about stepping on a jagged seashell than drifting out to sea or bumping into an inquisitive shark.
Every afternoon, a summer storm rolled onto the island. Off shore, the coming rain muddled the sky, turning crisp blue to murky grey. Like the color of decayed violets: dusky purple and opaque. Palms bent to the will of the wind as tall sea grass whipped on the dunes. There's a small, overlooked miracle: the ability of roots, burrowed into loose sand, to anchor such flimsy plants even in the face of a tempest.
Lightning splintered the clouds, purple-blue. Shattered reflections of light bounced seemingly all around you. The rage of a coastal storm seems stronger, more volatile than the mountain storms at home. The wind beats harder, tossing beach- chairs and banging shutters. All around you, the colors change. Like the over-rushed strokes of an artist's brush, violet, navy, indigo, green-grey all muddle together. Blurred color on a wet canvas, turning darker and darker.
A summer storm's rage is quickly spent. It rushes to arrive and then rushes on down the coastline. And in its wake: a sky swept clear and blue by wind and ocean waters roiling still with remembered rain.
Mark and I so enjoyed our week away. If you've never visited the Carolina coast, we highly recommend Ocean Isle Beach. Our only regret is that the week flew by too quickly and another workweek arrived too soon.
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