Winter vacations!

Whew! We got back from our annual winter beach trip about three short weeks ago, and I already feel like I need another vacation! (Of course, rushing to pull together the last few documents for the tax preparer has a way of doing that, right?)

Beach vacations–actually, vacations in general–are special because they are so restorative, especially when everything you do is diametrically opposite of daily work and life.

For me, that means leaving schedules and structure behind, to the extent possible. In other words, it means setting the Fitbit aside (no 5:30 am silent alarms!), no scheduled writing time, no scheduled anything time. Just lazy mornings full of reading and walks and mugs of hot tea.

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Snowy beach stairs

And this year that hot tea came in handy because it snowed at the Outer Banks, as you can see from the beach stairs. We’ve seen snow there before, but never 2-plus inches that then stayed on the ground for a full two days, very unusual for the OBX! On my first morning walk, I found this heart that someone had traced out.

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A snowy Valentine’s heart

Vacations also mean doing at least one totally useless (but fun) activity. For us, that means jigsaw puzzles. We weren’t sure we’d get this winter’s selection done, but we did!

Our 2016 jigsaw puzzle!

Our 2016 jigsaw puzzle!

I got a lot of reading time in, too, including Hard Cold Winter (Glen Erik Hamilton); Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret (Judy Blume — amazingly, I’d never read Judy Blume before); The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot); The Virginian (Owen Wister — favorite line: “When you call me that, smile.”); The Husband’s Secret (Liane Moriarty); and a re-read of John M. Synge’s plays.

OBX vacations also mean soaking up nature and our surroundings. There are real foxes there, which we love (they’re pretty tame), and more birds than usual at this time of year.

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One of the neighborhood beach foxes

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Gulls and terns soaking up a little sun

We also spotted a marsh fire up between Sanderling and Corolla, a controlled burn that produced spectacular clouds.

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Marsh fire by Sanderling

And then, all too soon, it was time to leave and come back to the much faster pace of what passes for our regular life. But we returned refreshed and full of creativity.

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Beach fences

And we’ll be back there in two short months. I’m counting the days…

 

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