It has been three years since we last visited Rodanthe. We love to stay at this one particular rental house, Sandcastle By Dawn. The house is on the first row, ocean side, and we make payments all year long so we can stay here and have a family vacation. The first time we stayed was in 2009. The rip currents were severe, the beach rocky, and we had to climb over a dune to reach the beach. The houses on either side of us had pool. The next year, the pool next door to our right was filled with sand. In 2011, the house to our right has severe water damage, the lower level of the house was full of sand, and was now condemned. On the bright side, our house, as we’ve come to call it, was fine. The dune was gone, and our walk to the beach was much less taxing.
After hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 we couldn’t stay in our house, because there had been so much damage to the property and the surrounding area. The roads were washed away and several houses nearby were damaged. Although we had already reserved the house for that summer, our reservation was put on hold for the following year. The septic system had been damaged and our house was still not available in 2013. Finally, this summer, our house and the roads were ready. We waited breathlessly to hear whether hurricane Arthur had damaged it.
Luckily, the damage caused by Arthur was mild in comparison to Sandy, and we were able to keep our plans to come to the beach. Phew! But when we arrived we were in for a shock. Three houses to the left were gone. The house to the right had been reclaimed and was occupied, but the pool still was gone. Our house was now just feet from the ocean. I was speechless. Will our house be here next summer? How will we feel if our house is taken by a storm during the year? How close will the ocean be next summer? We spent the first hour unloading the car, looking around, and just staring silently at how close the water was from our back door, now literally just steps away during high tide.
Come to find out that all three houses to our left had been moved by the county to other beachfront locations further south. Thank goodness they had not been damaged by Sandy or Arthur. Our realtor told us that our house was very solid and would be safe for the next few years, that the pilings were reinforced and there was little chance of losing it. What a relief.
The point of my story is that it is all about perspective. We care very much about what happens to this house, even though it is not really our house, because have shared so many happy memories here and hope to continue gathering memories in the future. We feel at home here. When we thought that the houses next door had been irreparably damaged by hurricane Sandy, we were sick with worry about the future of our house. Once we found out those houses had been moved and our house was structurally sound and in no danger of being lost to the ocean, we so were relieved, our perspective changed. Our view may have changed, but our place, our house was still the same.
We’ve already reserved our house for next year.