Since it first became an official holiday in 1914, Mother’s Day has really focused on two themes—mothers and family. The Outer Banks seems to represent the best part of both of those.
That was on full display today along the beach. Families of every sort were enjoying an absolutely beautiful spring day—the temperature was in the low 80s, the breeze from the south around 10-12 mph, the sun was bright without a cloud in front of it . . . even the Atlantic Ocean, it seems, cooperated and kept the temperature in the surf tolerable.
(That can be a rare occurrence—springtime water temperatures are typically in the 50s.)
It is wonderful to be on the beach and hear kids laughing—ok, squealing—in delight. Fathers, in an image that seems to be a picture from time immemorial, walk into the surf holding the had of a two or three-year-old.
it was interesting; looking north along the beach in Kitty Hawk to Pelican’s Perch—that’s the pink house that’s the last home still standing east of the Beach Road in that area—there were kids playing on the beach, dads with their children and a long row of mothers sitting in beach chairs and towels relaxing.
Away from the beach the snow falls in gentle white patterns, cushioning the sound of cars as they drive by, yet somehow carrying even farther than usual the shouts of joy of the kids in the neighborhood.
On the beach though it’s a different story—the wind blowing at 20mph from the north whips the snowflakes into stinging pellets of ice. The ocean is surprisingly calm, probably because this storm is a land based storm, crossing from the west and then heading up the coast.
The beach has a surreal look to it. The ocean, unnaturally calm today, has not encroached on the three or four inches of snow that has fallen. Against the darkening gray of the winter storm, the white of the snow stands in sharp contrast.
Visibility is reduced, much more than at other places along the Outer Banks. There is nothing to stop the wind from picking up the snow that blankets this strand of sand between the dunes and sea, and that combined with the snow that is falling creates a haze-like visibility that makes anything beyond 300 or 400 yards indistinct.
It’s too cold to stay here very long. The dampness of the wind off the ocean, the stinging nettles of ice or snow, the general feeling of cold pushes its way through multiple layers of clothing and in five minutes—perhaps 10 at the most—a steaming cup of hot chocolate begins to sound as wonderful as water in the desert.