I always dream of traveling to exotic lands, but the truth of the matter is, after three or four days of being away from home, I just want to get back to my own house. I have finally accepted that I am a nester. I don't even like to leave my island, and only do so willingly if headed to Alligator River or to Chesapeake, VA for a day of shopping in all the stores we don't have here on the beach. But unfortunately, there are times I have to leave for services that aren't available here. One of my doctors is in Elizabeth City, NC, so that's where I headed early Wednesday morning, 111 miles round trip.
|The break between leafy tunnels on the way to Elizabeth City.|
I always have an uneasy twinge when I cross the Wright Memorial Bridge, feeling like my island might be a type of Brigadoon, and what if I am returning home and the bridge has disappeared? Will Gene Kelly come dancing to my rescue? Anyways, it's a long stretch of road through Currituck, field after field, unlike the swampy terrain further south. Used to be, cotton fields lined the road, maroon swaths studded with puffs of white in the fall. But now landowners attentions have turned to the more lucrative wine industry, and grape vines stake their claim where the cotton plants used to thrive.
Elizabeth City is always under construction, usually around the drawbridge, and this day was no different. I made my way to the far side of town, did what I needed to do and rushed out of the office, eager to get back home. The city is kind of like going to a zoo. I saw women in suits, wearing pantyhose and watches and men wearing ties and tasseled shoes; such odd creatures I rarely encounter.
On my way out of the city, I discovered a little park I had never noticed before, a simple boardwalk extending out into the sound among cypress snags sporting lot of knees. Waiting for me were two Yellow-bellied Sliders, a male, the smaller of the two, with an eight inch shell and the female, donning a shell that had to be at least 12 inches. I took a few minutes to do some quick sketches before heading home, never one to miss an opportunity to "converse" with the wildlife.
Finally my bridge was in view, still standing and waiting for my return. There's no place like home.
*I'm fascinated by maps and have a collection of antique ones from the 1800s. So for those of you not familiar with the Outer Banks, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the locations I'm always talking about.
"Hold the map close to your face. Breathe into it and you will hear a river start." Greg Kuzma