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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Cloud Iridescence -- In Nags Head!
After the past couple of weeks, I think I understand Biblical references to "the latter rains"! The weather has felt much more like May to me than September. Earlier months of drought have now yielded to too much wet--steady rains, downpours, drizzle. My little Colington yard actually has spring grass-flowers in bloom! Others have written on OBC about all the mushrooms sprouting up in their locales; same is true in Colington. My little yard smelled like mushrooms beginning last week, and a few days ago they erupted seemingly overnight from the moist soil. I had my first tree frog of the year, first in several years in fact, on my door a couple nights ago.

This morning I opened the door to two welcomes: genuine sunshine, which did not last the morning but was good to see early on, and a crow calling near the edge of the driveway. Heralds of more to come.

By about 10:30, the sky was darker again but one line of strikingly beautiful clouds was still faintly glowing against a rapidly graying eastern sky. At 5:30 pm the sun was out and the clouds seemed determined to squeeze out the last little bit of moisture in spritzes. Rainbow conditions! I went to the ocean and saw a tiny piece of one toward the south. There was a sundog, right where one ought to be, on an imaginary line right through the center of the sun stretching right to left. The sun dog was on the north side. But what really caught my attention a few minutes later was this...well, what WAS this?!? It looked sort of like a sundog, but in the wrong place. It was not shaped right to be the other end of the rainbow, and was in the wrong spot besides, angle-wise, for that. Google to the rescue!

This was a great example of cloud iridescence--one of those phenomena I have been eager to witness, at some point in my life. Here is what makes it extra special, seeing it today, seeing it here. The internet examples I found (and other examples I had seen previously) show this pastel band of cloud color most often out west, over Colorado or Utah, and often in lenticular cloud formations, which are flat, like plates...in fact, they are the classic cloud UFO shapes. So what is so special about that?!? What is so special about that is that Pete and I are headed to...drum roll please...Colorado and Utah! On Thursday! And while I had not journaled about seeing iridescence (having forgotten that phenomenon exists there), I HAD written of my longing to see lenticulars. Once again, rainbow colors appear as a sort of foreshadowing of promise. And you know how I love to share something extra special with all of you!

This seems a great way to say that since we will be off the 'Banks for a bit, almost 3 weeks in all, whatever entries I post in the interim will have mountains for dunes, and red rocks for sand, and rivers or lakes for oceans. We'll just have to see what the west gives in its own way of surprises!

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I call this "Beach Walk." 3 willets, 2 people. Good combination -- grey skies still, earlier in the week.

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Some enterprising sculptor made this free form out of driftwood and salvaged stairs or decking boards.

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My night-time visitor. Hi Baby!

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A cloudy day at the beach can still be beautiful.

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I call this, Storm Will Break. This was the view mid-morning. Earlier sunshine was shrouded again but the cloud cover was thin, and the escaping sunlight created this subtle glow on the clouds over the ocean.

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You have to look hard for it, but on the right side of the picture is one half of a rainbow, bending up and to the left. I darkened the sky somewhat in order to make the bow easier to see in the photograph.

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At first when the iridescence began, I thought the rainbow was reforming on the opposite side. But no.

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Here is a close-up. Pretty neat, eh?!?

posted by eturek at 11:59 PM

Comments [1]

Saturday, September 17, 2011
On Our Way To Hope
I have to tell you, I really struggled with this blog. That statement underscores why I’ve allowed such a gap of time between the last blog, two days before Hurricane Irene, and this one. I needed this time to process, and I don’t mean just photographs. I mean thoughts, emotions, images burned more into my heart and memory than onto my memory cards.       There have been plenty of post-storm pictures taken, circulated, published, shared. Something in me did not want to add to those. Yes, I took some as soon as I could get out of my Colington Harbour street on Sunday. But those were meant for more private sharing, documenting damage for out of town homeowners. I took water-over-Colington-Road, water-in-yards, water-surrounding-Colington-Methodist-Church pictures. Once the true aftermath began to be clear and the damage toll to be revealed, I stopped taking even these. Especially I did not want to take the journalism photographs that would chronicle, in painful detail, people’s lives stacked, soggy and stinking, on the sides of every road I traversed in my home community. That did not seem respectful or loving or honoring, even if the photographs were true on their face. So I waited. And waited. What could I say about the storm and especially about this place we all so love: rank, overrun with mosquitoes, and sliced in strips as though some giant beast’s paw had raked across Hatteras Island. I needed the gap of time so I could find the gap, find the pass through, the path that presages a little hope. I found my answer in a matter-of-fact remark from a dear friend who is also a Master Gardener. I was lamenting out loud the seeming death of many soundside trees whose leaves and needles had turned instantly dry and brown after their inundation with the sound’s brackish water. Oh, they aren’t dead, she said. Their leaves will fall off, and in fact, they will probably go through a growth spurt now, prompted by the trauma of the storm, and then those new-growth leaves will fall off, too. By next spring most of these trees will be back in their usual growth cycle. You shouldn’t prune or cut them now, she said; give them time. I’ve thought a lot about the implications of her words: in response to the trauma of the storm, these plants shut down and conserve their energy (check, I get that) but then are jolted into new growth even if it seems out of season (yes, I get that too) and after their appropriate rest period in winter, will emerge in spring with genuine growth in the proper time? Could it be true? I went looking for evidence and have some to share with you. And while I was keeping an eye out for hope, I noticed the beautiful almost-fall weather about ten days ago.       Then, last Thursday, came a Gift. The ocean was cranking, choppy and sloppy, and tossing up lines and clumps of seafoam at a high tide line near the toe of the dune. I took a few pictures from atop a dune walkover, just to document the weather change more than anything else. Pete was headed straight home and would walk the dogs; I had some spare minutes. I decided to walk down the steps and get a closer view. Broken reeds were everywhere, in piles. The seafoam clumps were atop them and beside them, shimmering. In fact, one clump looked to be covering a piece of seaglass, and a bright blue piece at that! I’ve rarely found blue here in spite of many years of looking. I walked and leaned closer. I’ve never seen what I saw next: the usually pale, dishsoap-bubble-like clusters that make up seafoam at close focus were instead these vibrant, intense, glowing marbles of blue and green and violet. My friend Judy Bailey supplied the answer: the water contained just enough oil, churned up from the ocean bottom by the storm, that the seafoam resembled the patterns one can sometimes see in a rain slick puddle atop pavement. The oil, invisible in itself, had transformed these blobs into bubbles of wonder. I went back to the car and switched to a macro lens so I could better see what I was seeing. The bubbles seemed like rainbows, each one full of promise. I took many pictures and many deep breaths, said many “wows” and many thanks. And found my way once again to hope and thus to share.       After a quick bout of thunder last night and steady rain, we had a mid-60s day today, our first truly autumn temperature day under overcast skies. The light has looked like fall lately, too. All of this reminds me of the wisdom of seasons. I’m trying to pay attention.      

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The day after the storm, the oceanfront at MP 11 in Nags Head did not look like anything happened. We all know the effects were on the sound side. What a difference a couple miles of width makes!

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By the last day in August the sea oats are beginning to look a little more like fall.

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And a week later, while the soundside communities still struggle, the beach is its beautiful self.

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Speaking of soundside, here are some trees in Colington -- across the street from the sound. My go-to spot for fall color. I can't envision this area without its customary reds and golds.

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But a scant seven days later, even the pine trees beside Yellowhouse (which weren't swamped by the swamp) that had turned brown are showing new green needles.

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And my little apple tree that has held so many lessons and messages this year, holds one more message, of hope.

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I worried about the pelicans during the storm, on Pelican Island. I'm not sure where they went or what they did during the heavy winds and the soundside surge, but I can tell you the glad news, they're back!

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I call this "Perfect Day" because it was, at least on the oceanside of life.

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Rainbow Bubbles!! How cool is this?!?

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Yes, these seafoam bubbles really were this intense and this vibrant. That is what makes seeing them--and sharing them--so special.

posted by eturek at 10:45 AM

Comments [7]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 547802 times

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