Rising with the sun in the Outer Banks

atlantic ocean outer banks north carolinaKILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. — I write this—longhand, as always—with frozen fingers. I have been chasing the sun for nearly two hours.

We told the baby we were going to see the Big Water, but when we finally arrived in the Outer Banks it was already dark. It’s a very dark dark here, and though we stood on the beach we could make out just the barest shape of waves reflecting the moon. The sound was incredible, angry, reverberating in our chests. That familiar salt-fish-sand smell blew past and through us.

We were back at the seashore before 6 a.m. We had a blanket under us and two around us, over our winter coats, with just our hands peeking out to hold coffee and tea. It was 6C, but frigid with the ocean wind on our cheeks.

“Oh. It’s a big water,” Jilly breathed into the salt air. “Where’s the sun?”

“The sun is still sleeping. We have to wait for him to wake up.”

“Wake up, sun! Wake up!”

Cloud cover and fog meant the sunrise wasn’t as spectacular as it might have been. Except that we were bundled up in the sea air and we were talking to the sun and staring at Venus and we were together. And that, my friends, is rather spectacular.

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