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

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Why I Still Love It Here
I’ve had several versions of this conversation recently, some with visitors and some with residents. It starts off with some variation of, don’t you hate the summer traffic/don’t you hate all the changes you’ve seen as the Outer Banks has grown/don’t you just hate…

And then I take a deep breath and try to explain why every answer I can think of begins with “No.” No, I don’t hate. No, I still love it here. And then I try to explain, tripping sometimes over my words because I am trying so hard to convey the emotion behind them.

First, I say, if it were not for the busy summer traffic, businesses like mine could not exist here, and I would be (likely) doomed to a life in an office, perhaps without even a window, rather than living the life I am blessed to live, which includes (even in summer) time outdoors, incredible views out my gallery windows, and chances to share with some of the most wonderful people who come here, visit here, dream of moving here someday. Then I say, as far as the traffic goes, even on a busy summer day, it is still less hectic here than the traffic was in my northern Virginia birthplace, which I left 43years ago—and is certainly way less than that traffic is now on a daily basis! So no, this traffic, challenging as it can be to get to my shop on a busy summer Saturday or Sunday, is nothing like the traffic I could be enduring—and that many of our visitors endure—365/24/7.

And then I say, even with summer’s admittedly hectic pace, I still can find quiet places and incredible moments outside, in nature, where my soul and spirit find their deepest refreshment. Cases in point: within the past eight or nine days, I have experienced and in some cases even been able to photograph a vibrant double rainbow (over the ocean no less), a sunrise, a once-in-a-blue moonrise (the third of four in this 3-month period), multiple horses at the water’s edge in Carova including two harems with foals, a red fox, a barred owl flying swiftly and silently across the road in front of me, an immature bald eagle flying overhead, huge flocks of sanderlings, the sudden spring influx of butterflies and dragonflies, the happy croaking and barking of tree frogs, a male green anole valiantly trying to score a mate by fanning out his red throat dewlap (it caught my attention), and a mama bear with four cubs, two of which were so tiny and fluffy and cute they looked like teddy bears come to life. IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS TIME. In a time of year when traffic and customers and the general pace of life ramps up into overdrive. If I had managed to work in even one excursion across the Oregon Inlet bridge, I would have been able to add even more sightings to the list, like a walk on an uncrowded beach (although the beach was still quiet in Nags Head at both dawn and dusk) and perhaps a glimpse of nesting least terns. I have seen long lines of pelicans both gliding and soaring and one day even saw leader-change, one of my favorite aerial maneuvers, in which pelicans haphazardly decide who gets to take the lead next by flying around in circles until someone else steps up and (frequently) heads off in a new direction. I have spotted several flashes of the azure blue that tell me bluebirds have settled in for spring, interspersed with the red of cardinals and the drumming of woodpeckers. A hummingbird briefly visited my yard within the past week, and I saw another hovering in front of wild honeysuckle on the Alligator River refuge last evening. New beginnings are in evidence everywhere, if only I have eyes to see and ears to hear, and a willingness to pay attention.

What I have learned in my 43 years of living here is that everything changes. I change, you change, life changes; our dreams and hopes and plans change. The neighborhood changes, jobs change, kids and grandkids grow and change. Like most of us, I find some of those changes challenging and some exhilarating. I can label some changes as sad and others as happy. I have also learned that I can embrace and thrive on change or I can dread and avoid it. I have done both. Honestly, I think I am happier when I can anticipate change from the point of view of excitement and wonder rather than dread and fear. I don’t always manage that perspective, mind you. But when I do, I experience my life as a series of moments to be cherished and remembered and written down in my list of gratitudes—like all those moments I mentioned in my litany from the past week or so.

Not all of those moments wound up as photographs. Some happened way too fast—the barred owl that flew in front of me out on the refuge is a perfect example. Others I went out to seek, and the finding allowed me the time to both prepare and photograph. Some of those are below for your enjoyment too.

So how do you cope with changes that are admittedly much more difficult than the inconvenience of more cars on the road for four months a year? Regular readers may get tired or bored with my saying this, but the best way I have found to deal with any challenge is gratitude. When I get grumpy, or agitated, or worried, or afraid, or even angry, my go-to-ground, return-to-home-base practice is gratitude. I start listing, out loud, or on paper, all the things I can think of that are going right, everything I am thankful for, from huge blessings like my 22-and-counting years with Pete, and our 13-and-counting years of owning Yellowhouse and 3-and-counting years of owning SeaDragon, and the love of family and friends, to seemingly small surprises such as a hug from customers-turned-friends who walked in unexpectedly to sudden sprinkles of rain being overtaken by an overarching promise blazing with vibrancy to watching the young of multiple species frolic and find their footing in this world. Gratitude helps me not to take those huge blessings that we experience every day for granted, and to be on the lookout for the little joys I might otherwise miss.

I have also learned that I need to put myself in a position to receive. For me, that means asking for help when I need it rather than pretending I can do everything myself. It means finding time in my busy schedule to journal in the morning (which is also one way I pray), to reach out as I can to the many friends near and far who enrich my life (and whose lives I hope I enrich in turn), and to spend moments outdoors in nature. Your priorities and practices may differ, but I guarantee that you know within yourself what fills you up to overflowing, so that you can continue to put one foot in front of the other, sometimes plodding, sometimes dancing, but always moving forward.

So in answer to all those conversations I have had recently, and will likely have again and again all summer—I don’t hate. I love. Scroll down below and see some of those loves I found just this past week.

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Double Rainbow over Avalon Pier. I watched the light change and knew a rainbow would follow--one blessing of living so long here is, I can read the light.

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Blue moon over the ocean. Its actual moment of rising above the horizon was still too pale to see--until the sun fully set.

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Nags Head Pier in moonlight.

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Now for the opposite end of the day: Nags Head Pier at sunrise.

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Previously, the most Sanderlings in May I photographed in one click of the shutter was 153. This is more than 300!!

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A young visitor asked if I would give her some private photo instruction at sunrise. Our challenge, to show sunrise in less than obvious ways. Here is one: a slow shutter twist. Think feeling rather than seeing.

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One of Carova's newborn filly-foals anther family.

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Our first foal of 2019, Renzi and his mama under an almost full moon. Actual blue moon was the next evening.

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With the warner humid days, land breezes and biting flies, the horses are often by the water to cool off and find some relief.

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For the second year in a row, a mother bear has four cubs--unusual to have so many! I never did see "the quads" last year despite making several trips to the refuge. I was elated to see these earlier this week.

posted by eturek at 11:17 PM

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