There are many words that describe thankfulness, many ways to show thankfulness, and many things to be thankful for – especially in the NC Brunswick Islands. Water is everywhere here. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape Fear River to the Intracoastal Waterway to the many lakes – it surrounds us. It contributes to the saline scent of the maritime environment – something we miss when we travel. It provides venues for entertainment including; sailing, surfing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, canoeing and fishing. It’s a virtual playground. It’s also exceedingly beautiful to contemplate. The towns are bird sanctuaries. We can hear the birds singing as well as the breezes singing through the trees – even with our windows closed – instead of the sound of traffic roaring past. The climate allows us to spend an inordinate amount of time outdoors walking, biking, hiking, running, on the water, by the water, on the beach, in a hammock. Even when the temperature dips, there is always the wonderful sunshine. What’s more, our towns, the county, the state have had the foresight to set aside large amounts of natural spaces for our enjoyment. Parks abound in Brunswick County, NC. Whether they are small, with a few trees and a bench or two, or hundreds of acres, they are here for our enjoyment. Here are a few for you to explore – and while you are at it, remember to be thankful for the air you breathe; for the fact that you woke up this morning; for your legs that allow you to walk; for your eyes that allow you to take in the beauty around you; for your lungs that allow you to breathe; for smiles and hugs and even for setbacks that eventually lead you to better things.
I really wanted to attend a poetry workshop on “The Epistolary Poem: Letters from Within.” in Charleston today. I was looking forward to seeing a friend I have not seen in years and meeting some new friends as well. I had hoped to learn how write a poem to the hawk that hovered between the ridges of autumn trees in Pennsylvania during a recent visit I had made. Or to the stars my daughter, my sister and I stood under one chilly early morning where we held hands in a circle and made a wish. Or to the ocean, so faithfully there every time I return home from somewhere else. But it was not to be.
By mid morning I decided to take myself down to the beach for a walk. I threw a long sleeved shirt that had been my daddy’s over my T-shirt and drove the few blocks to the beach access. I had not taken many steps when I realized that the shirt had to come off – to be tied around my waist. The November sun was warm, as was the sand under my bare feet, and the breeze was light. A perfect day. There were a couple of people paddle boarding on the calm water and a number of men surf fishing as I walked along. I don’t think they even cared if they caught anything or not as they sat comfortably in their beach chairs watching their lines. A couple of them had their families with them. Their wives had stretched out a quilt on the sand and the kids were running, searching for shells, laughing and totally enjoying themselves. A little two year old boy plowed the sand with his toy front end loader. A few people were sitting in beach chairs reading books. People were walking their dogs – one couple had two Border Collies with them. I hoped to run into Susie, the shelter dog, who I am trying to teach that I am friendly. I met her mom, Jeannie, the other day and as I squatted down and put out my hand, Susie came up to sniff it. Not like the first time I met her when she ran away from me. Jeannie said that is the closest Susie has come to anyone else since she got her from the shelter. It must be terrible to live in fear of other people. And so, the walk on the beach did not disappoint – it never does. And this scene is being replayed on every beach in Brunswick County – a special place to live or to visit. And – it’s all good.