Tuesday we scattered to the pool behind the big house or the athletic courts just off the beach but I walked west, out of the gated community our house was in and down the road that lies between the Atlantic and the Sound.
It was the hour before sunset and the heat had lifted but I bought an over-priced ice cream from the shop on the boardwalk anyway, walked slowly with it along the walkway that runs along the Sound. Birds skimmed over the water’s surface and two settled on the edge of a huge nest on a pole out into the water, open screaming mouths rising from its center.
The sun slipped lower into a bank of storm clouds, gold spilling out between rifts and lighting a path along the water.
And seagulls screamed somewhere I couldn’t see and the wind blew and the water ran up against the pilings and the dirt banks with constant sound and movement and I tasted salt with the sweet of ice cream on my lips and at the same time the wind rustled the pine trees overhead.
I don’t associate pine trees with salt air. But maybe that’s what makes the Outer Banks some place different, worth visiting.
For a week we stayed there, in a big house close to the ocean, baking on the sand or splashing in the pool or eating too much ice cream. We stayed up too late and slept in long after the day began; played hide-and-go-seek on a rainy day and watched NBA playoffs as darkness fell.
We wandered up the dune at Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers proved flight was possible, and took refuge from a sudden downpour inside the gift-shop museum.
For a week we forgot about deadlines, and work and school, and a house that needs so much effort this summer.
And it was good.