By That Long Scan of Waves
By that long scan of waves, myself call’d back, resumed
In every crest some undulating light or shade – some
Joys, travels, studies, silent panoramas-scenes ephemeral,
The long past war, the battles, hospital sights, the
wounded and the dead,
Myself through every by-gone phase – my idle youth –
old age at hand,
My three-score years of life summ’d up, and more, and past,
By any grand ideal tried, intentionless, the whole a nothing,
And haply yet some drop within God’s scheme’s ensemble – some
wave, or part of wave,
Like one of yours, ye multitudinous ocean.
By that long scan of waves, myself call’d back, resumed upon myself/In every crest some undulating light or shade – some retrospect. I thought of this when I was sitting on the white, sandy beaches of the Outer Banks last week. I thought about my past and the pull to the ocean, as though, like the waves, I am perpetually pulled to the briny breaks of waves and soft, tan sand. “I’ve got salt water in my veins,” my dad would always say. I say it now, this hand-me-down phrase. It is one of the reasons we moved to Maine. Being days away from the ocean was like being anemic—feeling woozy and weak, cut off from water.
Maine’s ocean is beautiful. There are a handful of white, sandy beaches, but most are craggy and rocky, her water cold, the landscape beautiful. Instead of stretches of white sand as far as the eye can see, there are carved out coves, making you feel like you’re tucked away in corner rather than like you’re standing at the edge of the world.
Chris and I traveled down to North Carolina last week for a very special celebration of my brother and his now, fiancé. Their engagement has been highly anticipated by all who know them because their journey together started years ago within the walls of medical school, amongst books, labs, classmates, and the mutual understanding that life for the foreseeable future would be no life at all, but time dedicated solely to the study of the human body. And though their lives continue to be dictated by their work schedules and long shifts, they’ve managed to maintain their relationship. They understand the rigors of each other’s lives, something necessary for any successful relationship, but especially so for doctors. I respect the hell out of them.
This particular celebration had the potential to be stymied because of the freak tropical storm Ana that rolled through the Monday of our vacation. WTF?! A tropical storm in early May?! We were holding our breaths, hoping it would bypass the Outer Banks, but alas, it didn’t. Monday was wet and windy but we managed to make the best of it.
In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there’s Highway 12, a thin stretch of highway that runs between the ocean and the sound, so thin and vulnerable, resembling a hairline crack on an egg shell. Sand dunes are piled around the east side of the highway, in hopes that they will keep the ocean from consuming the road during heavy storms. This is what it looks like when that happens:
We feared that would happen while we were there, leaving us cut off from the rest of the world, but a) you kind of feel that way anyway in the Outer Banks and b) the idea of being “cut off” seeming not so bad after long work weeks, traveling, and answering to life’s everyday demands. Instead of it dampening our spirits, we ventured to Sam and Omies, a fish shack in Nags Head for softshell crab sandwiches and tuna steaks. We also drank copious amounts of adult beverages.
After the storm died down on Tuesday, we spent the days drinking, eating, fishing, eating and drinking some more, and spending quality family time together. One of the drinks we had was a recipe of Andrew and Hyde’s called a BBC. They drank these delightful warm-weather libations in St. Thomas on last year’s vacation and brought the recipe back with them as a souvenir. Think an banana, coconut, and chocolate smoothie that packs a REALLY big punch. Careful, careful. They go down a little too easily.
- 2 shots of Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1 shot of rum (preferably white rum)
- 2 Tbsp. Creme de Coconut
- ¼ cup coconut water
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of ice
- Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
In addition to BBC’s we ate our fair share of fresh seafood. This creamy, cheesy, spinachy, shrimpy dip I made was a huge hit, and you can find the recipe on Food52.
And what would a trip to the Outer Banks be without pictures of Cape Hatteras lighthouse. If ever you have the opportunity to go, take all 250+ stairs and be sure to get a view from the top. It’s so worth it.
Trivia tip (FOR THE WIN! during your next trivia night): When Cape Hatteras lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in the US–once the largest brick structure in the world– was built in 1870, it sat a safe 1500 feet back from the ocean. Due to shoreline erosion, the National Park Service had to relocate the lighthouse 2,900 feet in 1999. To move it, they had to lift it off of its foundation, transfer the entire structure to a transport system (think of a heavy duty conveyor belt of sorts) and move it, 5 feet at a time, until it was lowered on its new foundation farther from the sea. In Vegas, there were bets as to whether or not the lighthouse would tumble, and the majority of people bet it would fall. But it didn’t. That, my friends, is some bad-ass engineering.