Thursday, August 11, 2016

Peaceful Reflections From a Carolina Beach

Nags Head, NC
A glassy blue sea beneath puffy white clouds. Dune grass seed pods nodding gently in a cool sea breeze. Seagulls and pelicans racing across the sky. The warm sun loosening taut back muscles. Such are the joys of a summer beach vacation.

My wife, Annette, and I are at Nags Head in the North Carolina barrier islands (Outer Banks) enjoying time together with our daughter and her family. This is a three-generation affair. Three of our grandchildren are here, along with spouses and a girlfriend. Even the family dog got to come. It is a laid back time for all of us. We sleep as long as we feel like it. During the day, we are all in charge of feeding ourselves. Only in the evening do we gather for a communal dinner, often from a "take out" restaurant.

Our days are spent with dips in a fine swimming pool, time at the beach, and walks along the sand. Those who tan lie in the sun for long periods. We "old folk" take shade baths. We read "beach books" to pass the time.

People who live hectic lives need time like this to unwind. We try to keep the everyday world at bay. We don't discuss politics. News is banned from the big flat screen TV in the great room. The Olympics, however, are considered entertainment. Seeing our U.S. team rack up medals is a lot of fun. Those of us who feel lost without at least some news have to use the TVs in our bedrooms.

Too soon, this pleasant interlude will come to an end. We'll join the mass migration of vacationers moving up into Virginia, through the congestion of Hampton Roads, and on up the coast to our places of abode. But the memories of these lazy, unhurried times will remain with us as we return to the hustle and bustle of daily life, sustaining us through more stressful times.

Some archaeologists postulate that humankind developed along the beaches of Africa, that we are all the descendants of consummate beachcombers. Time at the beach makes that theory easy to believe. Most humans have an affinity for living close to the sea. May we never lose that connection. 

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Warren Bell is an author of historical fiction.  He spent 29 years as a US Naval Officer, and has traveled to most of the places in the world that he writes about.  A long-time World War II-buff, his first two novels, Fall Eagle One and Hold Back the Sun are set during World War II.  His third novel, Asphalt and Blood, follows the US Navy Seabees in Vietnam.  His most recent novel, Snowflakes in July, is a Pentagon thriller about domestic terrorism.  He is currently working on a new novel, Endure The Cruel Sun, the sequel to his best-selling novel, Hold Back the Sun. For more about Warren Bell, visit his website at: or see him on twitter @wbellauthor.