The warm sandy beaches of the Outer Banks, the vast panorama of Carolina Blue sky set against the foaming green waves pulsing rhythmically, crashing against the shore, bring me a sense of peace, a soothing beat to the pressures of a never-ending and ever-present list of tasks that need completing.
The vast openness of this expanse gives me a sense of peace, a sense that anything is imaginable, and a sense of promise. The peacefulness of the beach reminds me of time, of synchronicity, of history. I look out over the ocean and think about how long it has been there and wonder what it looked like from this very spot 20 years ago, 200 years ago, 2,000,000 years ago. What creatures were swimming in the Atlantic then? Was there a school of dolphin-kin swimming up and down the coast then too?
Sitting on the beach, with the sun warming my skin, mixed with the smells of the salt water, the sand, and the suntan lotions, makes me feel like anything is possible. A soft cooling breeze is blowing across my skin, my husband sitting next to me, with my toes digging into the blistering hot sand as noon turns to mid-afternoon, then to late afternoon, and the sun begins to sink on the horizon. I am looking out over the waves of the Atlantic, scanning the green waters for the pod of bottle-nosed dolphins that swim up and down this section of coast each day at sunrise and sunset. I do not know what it is about seeing these dolphins that brings me a sense of enigmatic joy and admiration. I am in awe of their grace, their ease, and their ever-present smile.
Rodanthe holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I wanted a wedding on the beach, but the timing did not work out. Instead, we were married in the middle of February, on Valentine’s Day, in a house with huge picture windows that looked out over the ocean. A huge storm had just blown up the Atlantic Coast and the wind was still stiff and cold. The waves were choppy and furious. It was the middle of winter, but we did not care. We were together with our family and we were getting married.
Earlier that day we took a long walk on the beach with all of our children in tow. It was cold. The wind was blowing so hard that the sand was swirling in the air, and pelting our backs. We hardly noticed. The younger children were running up and down beach, searching for shells and making footprints in the sand, watching as the rough waters washed their tracks away.
We returned from our walk and hurried inside to warm up, sitting down in front of the huge windows. We looked out at the waves and saw the dolphins. Not just the small pod that frequent this coast, but hundreds of dolphins swimming, and jumping, playing, and chasing fish. It was a beautiful, romantic, and fantastical sight; and one that I will never forget.