Bottle Tree, Ocracoke Island, NC
We're on vacation and doing our best to ignore the children. Jack is happily ignored, loaded down as he is with books, a bike and his computer. Will needs to be ignored in order to straighten him out. He's a moody cuss, our Will. Every year I think, 'This will be the year when Will finally chills on vacation,' and every year I'm wrong. Transitions of any kind discombobulate him a bit, and his moods fly up and down, up and down.
For years the Man and I have catered to Will, trying to make him happy, but this year we've given up. Our best attempts never work anyway, so why try? Will will cheer up when he's ready, and if you ignore him, he tends to cheer up more quickly. It's only taken us nine and a half years to figure this out.
We've been spending this week on Ocracoke Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's a beautiful, strange place, a fishing village that playacts as a tourist town during the summer months. It takes seven hours to get here from our house, two and a half of those hours on a ferry to the island. The beach is a National Seashore and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Fortunately, since it's such a haul to get here, the beach is never all that crowded. North Carolina is littered with beaches you can get to in a couple of hours from the center of the state. Why travel so far for a little surf and sand?
I like it here because it's a real place. People live and work here. This morning I visited a graveyard beside somebody's house. This place is full of 'em. Some of the graves date back to the mid-1800s; some are from this century.
We're staying in a house built in 1925. It has virtually no closets, but it has a huge front porch with rocking chairs and a front yard with cedar trees and butterfly bushes. It's my favorite beach house ever. Will thinks next year we should get a house on stilts because he prefers his beach houses on stilts. I didn't bother telling him that this is the house we'll be renting until the end of time. I just ignored him.
Bikes rule the road here. I went bike-riding this morning, but I have to confess: I'm a bike-riding weenie. I'm the only bike rider on the road who wears a helmet (other than my children) and the sound of a car behind me makes me tense up, even though there's an unwritten law that bikes have the right-away in all cases. Cars will patiently cruise behind you until they can safely pass. It's a biker's paradise, but mostly I'd rather walk. You can think better walking, in my opinion. Though this morning I took a long ride and thought of my friend Danielle, who didn't have many toys growing up, but she had a bike, and that bike was it for her. Her best thing. And when I'm riding down a street without any traffic, the wind blowing over my helmet, I do feel sort of free and easy. But nervous, always nervous.
Think of Danielle and be brave, I tell myself. And I try, I really do.
Okay, then--back to the books and the pimento cheese crackers and Coke. See you next week!