Thursday Winds

The ocean was leaping and rollicking and the white sands were blowing in blizzard-like drifts and sand-blasting our ankles. Despite this, we stubbornly spent two-plus hours on the beach.

Tide and wind had uprooted one of the two sturdy beach benches, and I set my back-pack beach chair in its lee, hunkered down with a couple of blankets. My windbreaker’s hood luffed, roared and chattered around my ears in positively arctic fashion, and I cinched it tight around my face and peered through its opening at the paperback in front of me.

Campgrounds have a lovely tradition of take-one-leave-one bookshelves, and when we first got here I’d turned in Jeff Shaara’s ‘Gods and Generals’ for E.L. Doctorow’s ‘Ragtime’. I’d enjoyed the interwoven stories of Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Freud, Wm. Howard Taft, Scott Joplin, Stanford White, Evelyn Nesbit, and other historical figures of the early 20th century. This morning, I’d finished ‘Ragtime’ and turned it in for a British mystery, ‘The Lost Luggage Porter’. Now, out on Topsail beach, I assumed a British impermeability to weather, basked in the ocean’s negative ions, and let the wind turn each page as I finished it.

Way down the beach, Bruce roamed with the winds, leaning against them to steady himself to photograph, periodically wiping the salt of his lens. We had a glorious time.

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