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

Thursday, October 31, 2019
The Calm After the Storm
As I wrote my last blog, at the beginning of September, Dorian was setting a course for the Outer Banks, we had made our preparations at the galleries, and there was nothing to do but sit and wait. Or, in my case, go outside and wait—at least until the storm and its rain bands hit.

We were lucky once again, meaning, no damage at the house, and other than a roof leak that has been stubborn to resolve, no damage to any inventory at the shop either. Of course our southern neighbors were not nearly so fortunate. I write this, think this, pray this, over and over: so often our own seeming good fortune comes at the expense, seemingly, of someone else’s loss. We skirt a storm without damage while others lose everything they possess. It makes even my gratitude tinged with humility and sorrow.

So, as I said, we got through Dorian unscathed, and then came a family storm, in the guise of a serious, life-threatening health episode for Pete’s older son, “little Pete.” As of tomorrow, he has been seven weeks in one hospital or another—first our local ER, then Elizabeth City, then Sentara Heart Hospital’s ICU and finally the long-term recovery wing of Sentara General Hospital. Details really don’t matter here, other than to say that, just as with Dorian, we were spared another horrific loss. My Pete was under the bus for about three weeks as his son’s life teetered on the edge of eternity. We are so grateful to have him back, while realizing he has a long road to full health yet to travel. Some of you reading this knew some of this story already, and we so appreciate your thoughts and prayers—keep them coming!

Crisis is like fog. It obscures so much and emphasizes what is right in front of you. Like fog, it has its own challenges, dangers, and surprising gifts. Crisis teaches us (if we let it) what is truly important and how much we have to be grateful for. It is a great editor; it trims away what really does not matter in order to help us see and value what remains.

In between visits to the hospital (we took turns so he would have visitors on many days and so we did not overwhelm him with too many of us at one time), and working shifts at the gallery (I learned all over again I can be calm and efficient in crisis but definitely need private time to both feel my feelings and recharge for the next round), I tried to find moments of solace outside. I had scheduled an autumn workshop in Hendersonville, NC at Mountain Lens, a fabulous photographic workshop/retreat space, and for several weeks was afraid I might have to cancel. But once little Pete was awake and alert and on his way to recovery, I knew I could leave the beach behind for a few days.

We had great weather, a vibrant sunset, a glowing sunrise with some fog laying in the valley, and overcast skies perfect for photographing waterfalls. Sunday morning we rose early and drove two hours to the Cataloochee Valley, deep in the Smoky Mountain National Park, where elk were reintroduced more than 15 years ago, having been hunted out of existence here in colonial times.

Where do you go to recharge? What visual symbols resonate with deeper-than-surface meaning for you? What makes your heart sing? These were the sorts of questions I asked my workshop participants to consider. They are good questions for photographers, and good questions for life, period. Knowing your answers can definitely provide stability and a surer footing, like a sturdy walking stick in the mountains, when crisis times do come.

Regular readers already know some of my answers. I love wildlife, so photographing elk, which I have not seen since our trip west in 2011, was especially energizing. Having a chance to photograph two fawns, in OCTOBER, in Duck, was a surprise, as I don’t expect to see little spotted fawns so late in the year. I love flowing water too, and seeing a rainbow in the waterfall spray was a double treat at one of the falls we visited. And of course I am always on the lookout for unusual hearts in the landscape, and I was not disappointed in that quest either. How about you, dear reader? (I hope you never get weary of my asking you this question.) What makes your heart sing?

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We are starting to see some vibrant sunsets now, though the real show will come with less humidity.

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A recent sunset in Duck, right outside Yellowhouse Gallery's front door. What a view!

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These two fawns were with their mother and one other female. They all crossed Duck Road right in front of me, just south of Duck Village.

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This Papa Elk is WAY bigger than the largest white-tailed deer. You would assume his call would be a deep baritone. Nope. Male elk bugle, a high-pitched whistle. Haunting.

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A young buck elk.

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The colors kept changing as the sun neared its rising, and the pink glow was my favorite.

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I watched the clouds all day, and just had a feeling we would get a sunset. So glad we waited it out!

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We had to search for spots of fall color.

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I could sit beside a running stream all day. So many views, so many moods.

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Here is the splash of rainbow at the base of Moore Grove Falls -- a long walk in, but worth the rainbow!

posted by eturek at 9:35 PM

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