Nags Head, North Carolina

Posted: 24 July 2005 in joy, therapy
Tags: ,

We spent last weekend in North Carolina on the beach and I know heartache, living in DC and not in Nags Head. Something deep inside pops and splits when we drive away, back to the grey city; back to bustling, sharp-tongued Yankees; back to fragile targets of terrorism.

I’ve been a vagrant always. I spent childhood summers leisurely touring cross-country in my grandfather’s motorhome, bored with out-the-window buffalo and deer, engrossed in books, complaining with every roadside stop. I was packed off to camp, hauled from Chicago humidity into icy museums, transported mentally to Michelangelo’s Italy and Degas’ France. We moved before high school to the wild West and from then on I spent summers traveling the other direction, by plane and cramped car, to New York and Europe, marking weeks in beautiful places. College in a new town was passed with weekends driving to LA and Tucson. 18 months of grad school in San Francisco, San Diego, San Luis Obispo – sans permanence. Even my career dragged me all over Brazil and much of Africa, thrusting me alternately into the first worlds of Washington and Johannesburg and whipping me into fast-paced weekends at friends’ weddings everywhere but home.

Outside of San Francisco (and I rationalize that it’s too expensive, too touristy, too big city), I’ve never wanted to live anywhere. I’ve loved everywhere, but loving it and living it have been separate things. Until Nags Head, anyway. It’s a little bit of everything. It has Arizona’s big sky. California’s crashing coast. Maine’s lighthouses. Brazil’s greenery. The humidity of the jungle; the tempo of America’s south; the wildlife of untamed places. The people are kind, and I’m kinder when I’m there. It’s a small town, true, but I might be ready for a small town after living so largely. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more personally tailored combination. Well, I would have added the lions and rhinos back in, but I’ll settle for gators, swamp land and boiled peanuts.

I don’t know if D is ready to settle down. And frankly, that’s a whole other post. In the meantime, here’s a snap of a summer beach storm. Imported to North Carolina directly from Rio…


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