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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Wendell Berry and The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry and “The Peace of Wild Things”

I owe the theme of this blog as well as its title to my friend and fellow artist E.M. “Liz” Corsa. She posted Wendell Berry’s poem in its entirety on her FB page following the tragedy of another school shooting. I know the poem, but needed the reminder of its words to help me reorient my personal compass, one more time, to stubbornly put one foot in front of another in the direction of Peace. As she did, I am going to quote it here in its entirety.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s
lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the
great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with
of grief. I come into the presence of still
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am
- Wendell Berry

The multi-day storm right after Mother’s Day with its wind and rain and gloom challenged my optimism too, especially since I had planned a special treat for out of town friends who are fellow professional photographers—all of whom were visiting in mid-May specifically to photograph our wild horses at that time of year. That trip was impossible as the northern beach was nearly impassable. So now what??

“Now what” turned into a wonderful weekend of sights and sounds, of incredible hospitality for my friends from Dawn and Darold Shaffer of the Colington Creek Inn, and plenty of chances to photograph. We drove to Alligator River Friday evening in spritzing rain after everyone arrived, primarily to scope out what we planned for the next morning. The rain lessened, the sun broke through to give, first, incredible light and then a brilliant double rainbow over the rain-washed fields and trees. The next day, we even made a spontaneous excursion over to Lake Mattamuskeet! The weather there was iffy, the water was not still, but we still enjoyed our time outdoors together.

I have spent a lot of time in the region’s refuges these past weeks, seeking refuge, seeking solace, seeking beauty, seeking peace, seeking joy. As Wendell Berry, I have not been disappointed. My sightings and offerings may be different than his, but the end result of deliberately choosing to go outside always helps heal my heart-hurts. One morning recently, needing to go to Tarboro and rendezvous with two potters whose work I was bringing back to the gallery, I got up at 2:45 a.m. (yes, you read that right, no, that is not a typo) and drove with Beverly Meekins to Pantego, to the Pungo unit of the Pocosin refuge. We had a great excursion over there, I went on to Tarboro, and came back via the Alligator River refuge. Starting and ending my day outdoors definitely made up for the lack of sleep and filled my senses with sights and sounds and smells I don’t typically see seaside.

While I have not yet seen a Mama Bear with baby cubs, I have seen on several occasions a mother with two yearlings. The smaller of the two is definitely spookier and less confident than its sibling. Both stay fairly close to each other and certainly within range of their mother but I can see the growing confidence particularly of the larger one.

I have also seen, several times, a mother owl and baby owlets at Alligator River. I spotted two smaller alligators, doing their part to show why the refuge has its name. One obligingly yawned for me several times, often enough that I could discern its “tell” – it would pump its pale throat several times before oh-so-slowly opening its mouth. The parent owl, on the other hand, rarely gave a signal I picked up on before it exploded from its perch in a fast dive down to the canal to nab a crawfish and carry it back to the trees. Speaking of spotted, I also spotted a Spotted Turtle. These are not common; their status seems to be under review but has been listed as endangered. I saw what I assume was the same one twice, on two different days. One day it was crossing the road from south to north and the next time I saw it, it was headed back, in the same spot, north to south. Both times it stopped just shy of the safety of the grass and I thought, there is a life lesson for me in that too: keep going, don’t stop short; you are almost there.

As I mentioned, my photographer friends stayed at the Colington Creek Inn, where they (and I!) were spoiled with delectable breakfasts as well as chances to photograph the Inn’s feathered residents, Colin and Caroline Osprey. The pair put on a nice show which helped make up for the disappointment at not reaching the 4wd area of Carova. Caroline was incubating eggs, and Colin was attentive to bring her fish and take his turn in the nest to give her a break.

Their trip also coincided with a full moonrise over the ocean, and a couple hours later, the full lunar eclipse! We went to Bodie Light and I wound up making an image requiring three different exposures and clicks of the shutter: once for the moon; once for the starry sky we could see especially as the light was dark; and once when a car came by and obligingly lit the lighthouse itself for a few seconds. Had we been out there alone, we would have “light painted” the lighthouse with a flashlight, but there were several other photographers intent on photographing the eclipse too and we did not want to potentially affect their literal or creative vision and images.

After my friends left, I still did not feel comfortable taking my vehicle out on the beach, so I booked a horse tour with Corolla Outback tours and saw Cedar, daughter of Rambler and Orlanda. I was concerned to see only the mare and foal by the water when we first spotted them. Where was the stallion and the rest of the harem? By the time we came back down the beach, we saw the whole family reunited, by the water. In 2020, I photographed Rambler and Orlanda with their filly Alma; I was glad to see Rambler’s whole harem still looking healthy at the water’s edge.

The day I drove up to take the horse tour was Dragonfly Migration Day! There must have been hundreds of thousands coming ashore, as I drove through ongoing swarms from Kill Devil Hills all the way past Duck! I got to stand in a swarm briefly near Kitty Hawk Pier, and then had to continue north to make my tour, but this past Friday morning in Alligator River, there was a comparable swarm at the corner of Milltail and Sawyer Lake Roads. I suspect many of the dragonflies that came ashore earlier in the month kept flying inland and finally reached the refuge. I stood watching and marveling, listening to frogs and the trilling song of a prothonatory warbler whose bright yellow feathers reminded me once again that my keyword for 2022 is supposed to be Joy.

Saturday evening I made a quick dash around suppertime to TJs to pick up a dozen eggs and saw towering, glowing clouds. Dinner can wait! I went home, put the eggs in the fridge, and headed to the ocean to watch the clouds bronze and gild and eventually turn a deep pink above an ocean that went from navy blue to shimmering pale turquoise in the waning light.

I am giving myself the gift of flexibility these days, realizing, slowly, that I am able to respond spontaneously to these impulses, whether to drive to Alligator River at dawn or dusk, or walk a quiet evening beach, or book a horse tour if I cannot drive myself. Life presents choices. Whenever I can, I am choosing beauty. I am choosing peace. And slowly, in those choices, I am finding joy.

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When the sky turns this color in spritzing rain, always look for the rainbow. You can see it faintly beginning here.

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Here is the double at its brightest.

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Soon we will see this year's cubs. These are two yearlings, still with their mother.

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The mother Barred Owl likes her perch over the canal, as she hunts for crawfish.

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The owlets are growing so fast, and are very alert to the big world all around them.

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One of the 'gators that gives the refuge its name. No, it is not being aggressive here; it is yawning!

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Rambler's latest foal Cedar is this harem's newest member.

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Photographing eclipses are a challenge, but surely worth all the effort!

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These are the clouds I saw back in Colington, that drew me seaside at dusk.

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As the sun set in the west, the eastern sky began to illuminate with the sunset's color reflected in the clouds.

posted by eturek at 1:02 PM

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022
What are the chances?
When I sat down to write my last blog in early March, winter still reigned on the Outer Banks. Temperatures that day were in the mid-low 40s; Osprey nests were still empty; Tundra Swan were just leaving for their summer breeding grounds in the Artic.

Now, native and cultivated gardens are awash in color; trees and bushes are well leafed out; and not only have Osprey returned, reunited and rebuilt winter-bedraggled nests, but some females are incubating eggs. We still have to wait a couple of months before our dunes are clad in sea oats, as those grasses don’t fully emerge until the end of June or early July. Today, my weather app informs me that the temperature is in the mid-70s, we have had repeated lines of rain squalls moving through all day, some with thunder-boomers, and that pattern is forecast to “rinse and repeat” for the next several days at least. I say rinse because all this blooming has released a dust-storm of yellow pollen, and most of us would welcome a rinse-off at this point.
I’m keeping my eyes on the skies; this exact weather pattern produced, back in 2019, the most vibrant double rainbow at suppertime that I have ever photographed here.

I have written this before: nature’s rhythms ground me. I find solace in the repeated patterns of migration and emergence – with just enough variety and surprise to, well, surprise me. I’m musing on rhythm since my life’s daily rhythm and pattern has changed so much since last fall. I’ve hunted for the familiar as a sort of emotional anchor while also seeking to understand what “fresh and new” might look like and feel like. All of this ruminating fills pages in my morning journal, but predictably, I carry it with me into the field along with my lenses. So while the subjects themselves may be similar to what I have photographed in past years at this time of year, hopefully my eyes and heart can find fresh ways to portray and honor these places and their wild inhabitants.

I’m still pining for foxes, so if any regular local readers have den sites nearby, I would love an invite to come photograph. In the meantime, I’ve walked out onto Jennette’s pier several times, and received a close dolphin encounter as a reward when dear friends were here from VA, and I drove with Ray Matthews in the dark for what turned out to be a lackluster sunrise at Mattamuskeet. I used to tell Pete all the time, I have 100% chance of no photograph if I don’t go! Instead of the sunrise we envisioned, we were treated to a density of wading birds on the refuge’s wildlife loop road that prompted thoughts of Florida. I even made close images of Glossy Ibis, a bird I have seen in the region only once or twice before in the past 20 years or so!

Earlier this week, low tide coincided with afternoon light, a SW breeze, and temperatures in the low 80’s, so I took my first run of the year up to Carova. Conditions were perfect for horses on the beach—one would think. But when I pulled onto the beach (and that was dicey at the entrance, as the sand there is quite soft and deeply rutted and I bounced my way forward with my tires aired down to about 18. VERY glad I did not get stuck!), the temperature was suddenly in the mid-60s, the breeze was cool, not warm as it had been a scant few miles south, and there were hazy, foggy patches ahead—and no horses in sight by the water. A small harem grazed the dunes and even those disappeared up and over fairly quickly. I saw more Royal Terns than Sanderlings but all bird life is a treat. Eventually I parked, remembering to pull out my permit for the week, and walked the beach, picking up a few pieces of coral, heart-shaped shell fragments, and two pieces of seaglass, one of which was from a pale green bottle neck. I climbed back in the truck and glanced north one more time and there off in the distance was a small harem by the water. I drove up and made a few images but conditions truly weren’t conducive for anything special there. I was just glad to see them out and looking healthy after the winter.

But spending the time I did to walk and forage for treasures, and then watch the horses, meant that I was passing through Duck near sunset. This particular sunset did not light up the whole sky, but there was a nice band of color parallel to the sun’s actual position. And that position just happened to be at the perfect height to photograph an Osprey nest that is near our gallery. Truly, I was in the right place at the right time—just not for the image I envisioned when I started out. I thought again of Pete, and how he would always ask, when I would call and check in after leaving the 4WD area, “Well, did you get anything?” And again I thought of my mantra: 100% chance of no photo if I don’t go.

Photography gives me life lessons. Twice recently, I made a substantial effort to go to what I thought should be the right place at the right time for a special image I had in mind. And in both cases, the conditions that I based my timing upon turned out to be different and much less ideal than I would have liked. In fact, had I discerned that in advance, I likely would not have gone at all. And you will see below the treasures I would have missed.

Life happens. We know this. My challenge now, which seems to be a similar challenge to many I talk to, is to put myself smack-dab in the middle of life as it is happening, so that something good, something wondrous, something joyous and peaceful and mystical and spiritual can happen not only around me and to me but within me as well.

After all, there is 100% chance of nothing, nothing fresh and new, if I don’t.

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"Grace and Henry" are among the first pairs of Osprey to arrive, always in mid-March, 25 years and counting.

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Henry LOVES fabric. He always decorates the nest with something special--this year, colored rope.

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This dolphin's pod came right toward us at Jennette's Pier! We saw many more offshore.

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By the next afternoon, Easter Sunday, we had a major nor'easter. No dolphin in sight!

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This is Caroline, the female at the Colington Creek Inn nest. She is laying on eggs now too.

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Seeing a Glossy Ibis this close in early morning light showed off the reason behind its name: beautiful iridescence.

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Here the pair has changed places. DAD is incubating, and Mom seems to be giving him a little peck to say, thanks, honey.

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Canada Geese fathers are also involved with raising the young. This is Father Goose, here.

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Conditions were iffy so I chose my longest lens and cropped down to show these two being affectionate.

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The true right place, right time. Not what I envisioned, but a wonderful gift.

posted by eturek at 5:05 PM

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Sky's On Fire...
Hey, Babe, the sky’s on fire…(James Taylor)

I hope James Taylor doesn’t mind that I borrowed a lyric of his—with attribution of course—for this blog. You’ll see why in a bit.

You haven’t seen or heard or read anything much from me in the past several weeks because honestly, I thought I had nothing to say. Beginning my grief journey in the darkest, coldest part of our year here in the northern hemisphere has given me lots of time to sit by my fireplace and think, remember, journal, cry, talk with friends and family far away. I am so used, after 25 years, to think in first-person-plural terms; thinking “I/my” instead of “We/our” has been a challenge. In my morning journal time recently, I felt as if God said, Pete was a big guy; he took up a lot of space in your psyche as well as in your days. Of course you feel emptier! No amount of busywork or activity or sleep or conversation has filled that space. Instead, I was led to create a new kind of to-do list, based around five questions.

What nourishes you?
What sustains you?
What pours into you?
What enlarges you?
What inspires you?

Thinking about these five questions eventually led me to bundle up—more than once in the dark—and head outside where my head, and heart, are nourished most. Another resource I have found helpful is The Grief Recovery Handbook, by John W. James and Russell Friedman, suggested by a friend who led grief recovery groups pre-Covid. For any of you reading this and also navigating the path of great loss, I highly recommend it.

Much as I did when I drove out to the NC mountains for New Years, I wanted a little change of scenery. I got my first wish for that when about 7” of snow fell in late January in Corolla. I did not venture out at first light—I wanted to be sure the Colington bridges were safe to traverse—but there was still a lot of snow on the ground when I finally drove north. A long goal was to photograph my favorite tree along the Duck boardwalk in snow and I finally got my wish.

Then, I arranged to go over to the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Wildlife Refuge on the mainland with a fellow photographer, Dan Beauvais, who knows his way around the unmarked roads there. We left in the dark to make sunrise and I was delighted to photograph hundreds of tundra swan in early morning light in a small flooded area that looks like a little pond compared to the larger lake. Way off in the distance we saw lines of snow geese flying shortly after dawn but we stayed with the swan. I had seen others’ photographs of otters in the canals there and hoped for a chance to photograph them, and we eventually found and followed a group of four or five. So cute! So fast! The next afternoon, I told Ray Matthews that Pungo still had swan present, and we drove over together for sunset and moonrise. The sound of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of swan cooing and calling to one another as the light waxed and waned over the two days I was there definitely provided sensory experience to answer my new life-list questions and I came home with memories and memory cards full of new, fresh images to share.

I’ve gone over to Alligator River Refuge several times too, sometimes in afternoon, sometimes for sunrise. I seem to be having lots of raptor experiences this winter, and wound up with a wonderful chance to photograph a Bald Eagle taking flight on a gray afternoon. Last week I rode with Beverly Meekins, a wildlife photographer who has spent much more time in the refuge over the past few years than I have. Beverly and I got there in time for me to see my first bear of 2022, a big Papa Bear headed from the now-barren farm fields across a canal and into the woods shortly after dawn. We also saw a lone otter, plenty of turtles sunning on logs, and we watched the last group of tundra swan (all but one) fly off, headed back to breeding grounds in the Arctic. Once they left, I could more easily spot the Sandhill Crane that has been hanging out with that group all winter. I wonder when it, too, will take off, and why the one swan remained behind when all the others flew north.

I always have my eyes on the skies, which is less rewarding with a uniform grey blanket overhead. A couple of weeks ago conditions looked as if a sunset were possible but only if I were willing to drive north—so I drove up to the boardwalk at the Waterfront Shops, where our gallery is, and bore witness to a magnificent skyfire show at dusk. This past week, clear skies and almost no wind coincided with the new moon, so I once again set my alarm for what felt like the middle of the night – 3:30 a.m. in that case – and drove to Bodie Light for the rising of the Milky Way, which we begin to see now just above the horizon. In winter months it stays below the horizon and by summer the core will be almost straight up and down. There was enough humidity in the air to fan out rays of light from Bodie’s Fresnel lens, which I could see as my eyes adjusted to the dark, juxtaposed against the Milky Way core behind the lighthouse. A ten-second exposure revealed even more detail than my eyes could pick up and once more I was nourished, poured into, inspired, and yes, sustained.

The fourth question on my list, what enlarges you, prompts a complex answer, one facet of which this blog, and other avenues of sharing, help to answer. I feel nourished, poured into, inspired and sustained as I receive, whether from nature, from God, or from people on this planet I love. I feel enlarged as I share what I receive with others. It is always my hope and my prayer that these offerings provide you, in some measure at least, what I’ve been given, and perhaps help answer those same five questions for you. Here they are again, so you have them planted in your own heart, to seek your own answers:

What nourishes you?
What sustains you?
What pours into you?
What enlarges you?
What inspires you?

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I've pictured this tree with snow in my mind for years, but never had the chance for the picture!

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Tundra Swan at sunrise.

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I love making eye contact. These otters were so cute--and fast!

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Swan at the opposite end of the day, about an hour before sunset.

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The Swan were flying to a nearby field; after the sun set, groups began to fly back in the dark.

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Then a beautiful full moon rose. This one line of Swan was at the perfect height from where I stood. What a gift.

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Our offseason sunsets (and sunrises) are the most vibrant. This one shows the Blue Point dock in Duck.

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Eagles represent vision, clarity, and thus direction for me. Having this one take off in my direction was a treat.

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First Black Bear of 2022!

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Bodie Light and the Milky Way.

posted by eturek at 6:22 PM

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Joy in the Morning
Decades ago I wrote this lyric:

Oooh, I’ve been a runaway
Stowaway, hideaway…

I remembered that lyric for a reason; it echoes what I feel much of the time lately. Since I last posted, Pete passed from life to Life, two days before Thanksgiving…a beautiful memorial service was held at All Saints Episcopal…many friends and family came and some stayed afterwards…the next days and weeks leading to Christmas passed in a sort of blur. I wound up having stomach issues I have not had for about seven years now, ever since I switched to a gluten free diet. I had a scare with an eye issue which resolved without needing surgery or treatment beyond a lot of rest (and no lifting anything over a sack of flour!) My body, balanced on the same tightrope as my emotions over most of the past year, finally demanded attention. I sat a lot, learned how to sleep without checking Pete’s breathing umpteen times in the dark, and slowly began to navigate this new life. The tension headaches I had most of the last nine months or so vanished overnight. And once I had the okay from my eye doctor to safely tote a long lens, and drive further than the grocery store, “run away” is exactly what I did.

I had planned to visit friends in the NC mountains shortly after the funeral, but my need to stay close to home kept me from traveling until right before New Year’s. So instead of walking the beach, I walked mountain trails, circled mountain lakes, peered through mountain fog, climbed down and back up a more strenuous trail than I knew I could manage to marvel at Linville Falls, and watched as roiling clouds forecast a winter storm to come. On New Year’s Eve, I witnessed the most vibrant sunrise I have seen in many years. As I photographed, words from the old hymn Sweet Hour of Prayer came to mind: “Til from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height, I view my Home and take my flight.” I thought of Pete, not sadly in that moment, but able to rejoice in his own heavenly joy. Little did I know I was literally photographing the Pisgah National Forest! Godwinks are everywhere, all the time, if we can but look and listen. And I am glad, for they have been my best comfort in these days of adjustment. While on the Parkway watching the storm clouds roll in late in the afternoon, I asked—out loud, in the hearing of my friend—if God would part the clouds and make a rift for the sunrays to shine over the peaks. I remembered that verse about Elijah, how God’s Presence came to him not in a violent wind but in the sound of a gentle blowing. So I gently blew up as if puffing out a candle, as I asked. And a few minutes later, here came a beautiful break in the clouds! Did not last long, but I was able to make a few images before the clouds closed in again and the Moment passed.

Shortly before I left, I drove down to Pea Island for a beach walk on one of our spring-like days near year’s end. I always marvel at how empty our winter beaches are. I saw lots of birds but the one that got my attention was a Bald Eagle, just a few months from having its full adult plumage, atop a power pole eating its lunch. It did not seem to mind in the least that I pulled over and photographed it. I am saying this a lot lately, too—It has been a long time since… Fill in the blank. In this case, since I had photographed an eagle at close range with my longest lens. So that was a big treat. Earlier in December, the shrimp trawler Bald Eagle II apparently had engine trouble and ran aground right on shore in Southern Shores. I photographed that “eagle” too, both one afternoon and then at sunrise the day before crews successfully towed her off.

I posted one of the photos below on FB, but I want to share it here too. The morning after Pete passed, I got up in the dark and went to the ocean for sunrise. I needed to share the dawn of his new Beyond Time life. And while there I asked, if possible, for a sign that I am still somehow present to him, to his awareness, though we are absent from one another physically. Sunrise was glorious, with those out-splayed sunrays I love. For a couple clicks of my shutter, just a few seconds, the clouds changed revealing what looked angelic in the clouds. I received the vision as comfort—and that comfort continues every time I see the image. I am grateful, as I seem to have moved into more of a “crying jag” phase since I have returned home.

Music has been mostly silent, these past months. But I have new lyrics born in this new season.

Who can say how comfort comes?
In the kindness of a friend
A note, a smile, a hug,
The sunrise once again…

Right now the Outer Banks is colder than usual in winter (read, low 30s, and quite windy yesterday). I am grateful for my warm house, my warm memories, and the caring of so many people that continue to warm my heart, even as my new thick luxurious socks warm my too-cold feet. I pray that wherever you are, in winter either literal or metaphoric, that you are similarly warmed, and comforted, and led gently toward the joy that comes in the morning.

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For a few seconds, the light of dawn assumed an angelic shape, the morning after Pete passed.

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Pelicans always make me smile. This particular day was gorgeous.

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The afternoon clouds drew me to the beach, and I shared a few minutes there with a friend who had come for the service.

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The Bald Eagle II, run aground.

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At sunrise, the morning before she was sucessfully refloated and towed to safe harbor.

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The other Bald Eagle -- at Pea Island.

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A late December sunset over the Sound.

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Sunrise, New Year's Eve, over the Smokies.

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Pisgah's Lofty Height...

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The Kiss of Light...

posted by eturek at 1:37 PM

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Jumping and Leaping (and Praising God)
For months now, I don’t bounce out of bed in the morning. I drag myself up. I can feel myself carrying invisible weights that sometimes settle in the back of my neck or the top of my head or the bottom of my stomach or dead center in my chest. Some of those weights are concerns I have for others who are going through similar sorts of health or life challenges, and some of those of course originate right here in our daily round. I must ask Pete, “Are you okay?” dozens of times every day.

None of this means I am not—at the very same time—grateful. It astonishes me, that I can feel worry and trust, concern and gratitude, fear and faith, seemingly in the same breath. Some days I feel as if I am going more crazy than other days. What helps is remembering the ways I am most nourished spiritually and emotionally—and then choosing those actions.

Today I looked up the definition for inertia. It means exactly what I thought: a lack of movement or activity. In physics, inertia “describes a property of matter by which something that is not moving remains still”—or, if moving, moves at the same speed and in the same direction UNTIL… some other force affects it. Just typing all that out provoked a big, melodramatic sigh. Inertia and I got acquainted decades ago, but it is not my friend.

One aspect I love about photography is its terminology, and how much photographic language applies to life choices. By my choice of subject, and lens, and focus point, I can make very different photographs in the same general area. So it is with my life. I know, for instance, that time outside will elevate my mood and break inertia’s grip, but I have to choose to make the effort to get there, at those times Pete really IS okay enough for me to leave the house. I have to become my own “affecting force.” Put another way, I have to give God something to work with. Looking at photographs I have made in the past, or seeing what others have found to inspire them can help only to a point. Ultimately I just have to get up and get going in order to be present to the life that is happening all around me all the time.

The last time Pete’s daughter MaryAnn came to stay for a few days, his other daughter Faith and I drove up to Carova. In my journal that morning, I asked for horses by the water (we saw two, briefly, a real treat in October), a successful 4wd trip (the beach was in decent shape at low tide and uncrowded enough that I never got forced out of my chosen “ruts”), and “something special for me.” Well, I got my something special and in spades.

Driving back down the beach, we saw two gals pointing offshore where a pod of dolphin were splashing. Turned out to the be the largest pod I have ever seen here. Longtime readers may remember that last January, right at the start of this new year, I had a life-list encounter with dolphin who came inshore and jumped and surfed high clean waves. (If you missed that post, look back in the archives on the right hand side and click on the entry for January 2021.) I said then how seeing those dolphin brought me joy. Now here we were, nearing the end of a challenging, grief-tinted year, and the dolphin were back. As in January, they were splashing and jumping well offshore as the pod made its way south. We kept driving beyond them, and I hopped out and photographed, and then we would drive ahead of them again. All this time I had been sort of casually wishing they would do as they had done before, and come closer to jump in the waves. Finally, I got quiet, and serious, and I asked. And they came.

At first, a lone dolphin leapt completely out of the water, turning his pink belly in my direction as he repeatedly splashed and jumped in a rolling swell. When he finished, my tears welled up and spilled over like a breaking wave. All the emotion I had been holding in surged out, and I stood by the sea’s edge and sobbed. When I finally walked back to the truck, Faith asked why I was crying. So I had to explain—how overwhelmed I was, how in awe, how I had asked, and how the dolphin had come seemingly in answer. How I was holding grief and gratitude all at once. That would have been enough, but the dolphin were just beginning.

Over and over they jumped and surfed, singly, in pairs, and finally three at once. We came off the beach in time to watch the Hunter Moon rise over the ocean across from the lighthouse as a small family of dolphin cruised by just under the surface. A V of ducks or geese silhouetted against a golden sky flew past Currituck Light. All in all, a truly banner day.

As I journaled later about the whole experience, I heard a message something like this: next time, take some video and use a wider lens. Whoa, wait, next time? There will be a “next time”?? Then came assurances about my deep need of joy (and I know I am not alone, which is really why I am sharing all this in the first place) and that yes, there will be more encounters because I need the gifts those bring to my soul.

This past Saturday, I had a quick late errand to Walgreens. I came out to gorgeous light. Pete was settled in his recliner, so I called him (“are you okay?”) and was able to stay by the ocean through dusk. The waves were still high and clean but no dolphin in sight. So I called, using my best longing and intention. I asked for them to come to me again. When they came, I had switched from a long lens to a wider lens as the sky was aglow with the beginnings of a beautiful reflected sunset. As before, they started off splashing well offshore. I remembered my instructions: next time, use a wider angle, and take video. So I asked them to come closer and allow me to film them. They obliged, and the video is on my facebook page. A couple of those photos are included below, too.

I know that one of my gifts is my connection to wildlife, which flows out of the deep connection I feel to God Himself. What I have heard, over and over, is that I am just an example of the sort of connection God longs to have with every one of us. The ways that connection manifests will be unique to each one’s personality, talents and gifts, and abilities to receive. We are not cookie-cutter people. But I share all these adventures to hopefully inspire you to get quiet, however you best do that, and look beyond your own self, as fabulous as I am sure that is, to an Even Greater Source of Love and Hope and Strength and Peace and Joy – and then ask. And then listen. And then begin, or extend, the greatest adventure possible this side of heaven.

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At first the dolphin splashed way offshore. I could see flippers and flukes. This face was a treat.

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Then one came! Dolphin bellies turn pink when they are excited or happy, in the same way humans blush.

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A father and son were out surfing when two or three began to surf near them.

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Then two began jumping the waves at once.

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Then, three!! Is it any wonder I cried?

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As the moon rose higher, we could see more dolphin cruising south.

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Meanwhile, in the west, migrating waterfowl fly past Currituck Light at sunset.

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Now we come to the repeated experience Saturday evening, near dusk. Light was beautiful, and once again the dolphin came.

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This time they kept leaping out of the waves over and over. See my facebook page for the video!

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Synchronized Diving! Even more fun than watching the Olympics.

posted by eturek at 1:44 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 672553 times

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