As is typical with a hot, sticky summer in the south, we have had some soggy days around here the past few months. While the area in general and my flowers specifically need a little rain now and then, occasionally we get a bit more than asked for. Jason and I had our first look at “hurricane protocol” this July and what goes into to protecting our slice of paradise when threatening weather approaches. Even though what we experienced this July was not a hurricane, in some ways it was worse. A hurricane is typically fast moving; in and out in about 24 hours, and the weather behind it is usually GORGEOUS! Storms like the one we experienced in July hang around for days and days, inundating our coast with inches of unrelenting rain. Thankfully even in the rain, there is lots to do and see on the Outer Banks - the Aquarium, tons of shops, movie theaters, trampoline park - the list goes on and on. But sometimes, in between storms comes an hour or 2 or 3 where the rain stops and skies lighten and you can enjoy one of my very favorite things - a cloudy walk on an angry beach.
Nothing puts things more in perspective for me than standing on an empty shore, looking out a rough sea. The unrelenting waves roll and move fiercely and freely. Nothing - not sand, or pier or cross waves can stop the water. If something comes in the ocean’s path, it continues on it’s course, either moving around or running over whatever obstacle might be in the way. The vast expanse of steely blue water makes you feel small and realize how insignificant some of every day life’s problems really are. Even some big problems pale in comparison to the giant, foamy splendor that lies before you.
As you stroll the shore, you are likely one of the only souls around. Typically packed with families, beachgoers, tents, umbrellas and chairs, today you have just yourself and your thoughts and time of reflection and maybe another comrade or two who have also come to explore the cloudy shore. You take deep breaths of salty air, so thick you can practically drink it. The smell is intoxicating and calming. As you walk the mostly empty shore, you are often gifted with gorgeous shells and sea glass, as the rough surf kicks up treasures from the deep.
While walking alone on a cloudy beach might not be why you came to the Outer Banks, it is certainly worth experiencing. Seeing the true wonder, splendor, power and ferocity of the ocean will give you a new perspective on our barrier islands, and also maybe on life. Plus, it's always important to remember - a cloudy, rainy day at the beach, beats a sunny day anywhere else! :)