The Outer Banks of NC

17 Jun

I’ve just returned from a week on the Outer Banks of NC. Salvo was the destination, although now Salvo, Rodanthe and Waves all run into one and it’s hard to discern where one begins and one ends. Further south is the town of Avon–originally called Kinnakeet. A Croatan word that means “land that juts into something.” In this case, the “something” is Pimlico Sound. A large body of water in between Hatteras Island and the mainland.

The Croatan were a branch of Algonquins who lived on Hatteras Island. In 1995 or thereabouts, an archaeological dig down in Buxton, south of Avon, uncovered a 16th century English signet ring. Validating previous speculation that the members of the original Lost Colony really DID make their way down Hatteras and were incorporated into the native community. That’s what I hope. And after all the speculation about blue-eyed natives, it seems that perhaps they were given “shelter from the storm.” Virginia Dare raised by a Croatan family. I like to imagine that.

But the Roanoke-Hatteras Croatan Indians suffered the same fate as most other indigenous people. They were hunters. Fishermen. Farmers. With limited defense systems. Limited defense against European disease. European aggression. And the perhaps not-so-unique American concept of manifest destiny. It’s an old story. Old. Sad. True. It’s a spin we often don’t read about in American History. And even though the the Hatteras Croatan all but disappeared, genealogical descendants still get together in August. In Manteo, for their annual pow-wow.

I have my own history with the Outer Banks. Really a history unlike my relationship with any other place on earth. In 1963 my mother took me and my three siblings there. It was the first year the island of Hatteras had become accessible by bridge. Prior to that, the only way over was via ferry. In 1963 the Island was–how can I say it–pristine? And basically, although it’s a stretch, I could say it still is. But it’s a stretch. I’ve been back there many times. In many very different situations and can attest that A LOT has changed in 50 years. With the island and with me. And I never fail to be amazed at the island’s ability to open up my memory bank to things long forgotten or buried. That’s how it functions for me.

The Outer Banks–a narrow skinny sand bar that’s constantly shifting and changing. It’s a barrier island. As much in need of protection as the mainland it’s protecting. The Audubon Society has stepped in because several native bird species are disappearing. Those little birds that used to be there, running one step ahead of the surf. I didn’t see any this time. Not one. It took me a few days to realize that. That some thing was missing. The sand pipers. The Outer Banks are for me the only place where water and sky meet to form the vastness of ocean as I understand it to be. Still, in order to continue appreciating the wonder of the place, I must struggle with the changes wrought on it by encroaching development. That’s a challenge. A huge challenge.

On this trip, we had wonderful weather even though Hurricane Andrea was brewing. Around Manteo on the way in, we drove through a pretty fierce storm
storm front
but we drove out from under the front as we crossed Oregon Inlet and the only other rain we experienced happened while we were sleeping.

First morning heading through the dunes to the ocean:through the dunes

and then the beach

logan running

lunch at the beachshell searching

I worked on several cloths while we were there–a family cloth where each of the eight of us created our own representation of self from scrap pieces–and a second cloth. Here’s a sneak preview through a hole in an oyster shell. A shell fragment for face. I became fascinated with imperfect shells. More on that later. This post has become too long now. I will post cloth images later on.
parallel realities1

14 Responses to “The Outer Banks of NC”

  1. Mo Crow June 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    ah love the view though the hole in the oyster shell and the feel of warm sun sand between the toes long stretching summer holidays at this wild beach as I stitch in the early hours in front of the heater as the days get shorter and colder to the solstice


    • Patricia June 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      it’s so hard to remember the difference in seasons. do you all call this time summer? and your summers are just plain cold? or do you call this winter in June? crazy question perhaps.


      • Mo Crow June 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        The Land Down Under is in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice on the shortest day of the year will be on Friday at the same time as it’s summer over there and you are celebrating surf sand and sun for the Sunmmer Solstice & BTW it’s already Wednesday morning here!


        • Patricia June 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

          It’s just so strange to me for some reason. To think that June means winter in your part of the world. I know this sounds crazy and I have no idea why it’s striking me as so surreal today. I’ve been thinking a lot about parallel realities/parallel universes. This sort of factors into that.


  2. karmadondruplhamo, (grace) June 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    i can almost hear these words being spoken. a woman’s voice, soft but sure in the Looking. behind and then in this time Now. i like very much the pace of it all. as if
    there wasn’t ever and isn’t now, any reason to hurry.


    • Patricia June 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      and that is it. the essence, the “there wasn’t ever and isn’t now, any reason to hurry.” and we didn’t–hurry that is. love you, grace


  3. user107055 June 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    oh..the last time i was in rodanthe was the last week of mother had just died and we all gathered sprinkle some of her ashes…mixed with my dad’s…they left me quite a comprehensive list of beautiful and meaningful places they would like to be…and it is always wondeful and memory filled as bit by bit i do this…the week was amazingly warm..the dawn of 2000..we stood on the beach and remembered and laughed and were sad…she so wanted to see and write the year 2000…almost….my growing up beach memories are northern california and sunsets..but in the past 39 years i have learned to love these very different to me beaches and sunrises…and the promises of another day…we never hurry in either place…i look forward to your cloth post..but this did not seem long at always a plasure to read here…cynthia


    • Patricia June 18, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      Cynthia. Thank you for sharing these lovely, poignant memories with me. Yes, there is something so different about sunrise oceans versus sunset oceans. When we first arrive at Salvo, I was standing out on the top deck. The sun was setting over the water. I was really confused. Walked inside and asked why the sun was setting in the east. Funny thing was–I really thought that was what was happening and it did not compute at all. It felt like I was in some weird sci-fi movie. Turned out that I had gotten turned around due to the layout of the house and what I thought was the ocean was actually Pamlico Sound to the west. But for the entire week I was a little topsy turvy. My kids think that’s my normal state these days. Oh, well. It probably is!


  4. user107055 June 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    …i totally get that…the topsy turvy feeling there…one of the best parts of the Outer Banks…you can have it both ways..the sunset over the sound made it feel like home…cynthia


  5. saskia June 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    sounds like you had a wonderful week, I assume the boy is a grandson, how nice to be able to spend time together.
    The images of the vast unpeopled beaches meeting the skies: bliss


    • Patricia June 20, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      grandson, yes and yes, unpeopled beaches. this was early morning. by noon many families are set up along the shore–still it’s possible to access the ocean at other places where few to no people visit. we did that several times.


  6. deedeemallon June 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    how lovely a post!


    • Patricia June 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

      thanks Dee. have been visiting your blog but not commenting–just marveling at your work.


      • deedeemallon June 22, 2013 at 11:47 am #

        why thank you! nice to know….


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