Ribbon of Sand - North Carolina's Outer Banks
In, nature, time. And space are, relative, matters. Perhaps. Most truly perceived. In, occasional, flashes, of insight. Sparked. By a magical, hour and place. The. Shore is an ancient world. First, long as, there has been. See there. Has been this place of. The meeting of land. In. Every, curving. Beach in, every. Grain of sand there. Is the story of the earth. And all, through, its long history the. Shore. Has, been an area of unrest. Where waves have broken heavily, against, the land where. The sea has pressed forward over, the continents. Receded. And then returned. East. And ahead of the coast of North America. Distant. From the inner shores of North Carolina, there, stands, in the open Atlantic a slim, and moving, line of sand. Visited. And possessed by the outter see, these. Sands, might be the end or, the beginning of a, world. A slender. Stretch, of sand dunes sea, oats and salt, marsh these. Are the Outer Banks. Graveyard. Of the Atlantic. Land, of lighthouses. Wild. Horses and legendary. Storms. Many. Outer Banks place names are world-renowned. Kittyhawk. Kill. Devil Hill. Cape. Hatteras. But. South of a Ocracoke, inlet, there rises a luminous, bar of sand of almost 60, miles an extent with. No roads no, bridges. Cape, Lookout National Seashore. One. Of the few remaining natural, barrier, island, systems in the world. Remote. Windswept. Interlaced. With earth sound. And sea. The. Mainland, of the mid-atlantic seaboard, is a vast, coastal. Plain. Evidence. Of the oceans, rise and fall, through the long ages, of geologic. Time. On, this quiet side of the itinerant, continents, the, Oceanic, and continental plates. Move, as one. The, table flat coastal plains, are unexpectedly. Primeval. The. Country, of Poquoson, swamps, where. The plants, whisper, of the wild, and the, land sings, of the adaptation. And evolution. Each, time, we enter this marginal, world we, gain some new awareness of its beauty and its. Deeper, meanings. Sensing. That intricate, fabric, of life by. Which one creature is linked with another and, each. With. Its surroundings. The. More clearly, we focus our attention on the wonders, and realities, of the universe about us. The. Less taste we shall have for destruction. Inside. The sheltering arms, of the barrier islands, lies an inland, sea. Huge. Shallow, estuaries. Called. Sounds. Where. Fresh water blends. With saline, creating. A prolific, nursery, for ocean-going, creatures. On warm, days, thousands. Of fiddler crabs parade, down below, the tide line on the sound side of the islands. The. Objects, of their March are, diatoms. Single-celled. Algae with silicon, skeletons. The. Base of the marine food chain, and a, miracle for air design.
Ringing. The estuaries, the salt marsh is one of the most productive, ecosystems. On earth. Providing. A fertile home for, the inhabitants, of the tide washed wetlands. The. Edges of the lower marshes, around Pamlico. And for sounds, consists, primarily of a single plant species. Saltmarsh. Cordgrass. Resilient. Flexible. Able. To secrete salt through special, glands. Cordgrass. Is a processor. And distributor, of solar energy. Upon. Which the entire estuary. Depends. Resting. A life from the sea has never come without great, effort. Saltmarsh. Cordgrass. Irrigated. By seawater. Adapted. To withstand coastal. Storms, has, found an ecological niche. Willing. To bend but. Reluctant, to break. For. More than 200. Years the, people of Portsmouth, Village showed similar, resilience. In an ephemeral, world of, wind, and water. When. I die I, would, like to become part of the saltmarsh. Return. Me to these waters, to. The grasses, and the tide lands. Where. There is no such thing as death. Only. The cycles, of life. Make. My marker, a lush stand, of cord grass. Watch. It wave in, the breeze. See. How it catches the light. And think of me. Beyond. The estuary lies, a slip, of moving, earth between sound, and see. Where. The horizons, are remote, and distant, rims, on the edge of space. Cape. Lookout appears, on early, maps of the continent, as promontory. 'm tremendum. The. Horrible, headland. From. The Cape a massive. Bar of sand extends. Into the ocean more than 15, miles, above. And below, water. In. The days of sail ships, would travel, the eastern, seaboard by, coasting. Sailing. South on the cold Labrador, Current, hugging. Close, to the land to avoid the north flowing, Gulf Stream. This, area has the highest, wave energy, along the entire East, Coast and sudden. Storm waves could ground ships, on the shoals were, even, pitched them completely, ashore. No, matter how storm-tossed. The sea to. Rescue, people on ships in distress the surf men of the life-saving, stations, were duty-bound to. Go out. Though. Not all would, come back. Geologist. Speak of these islands. As if they were living, beings, of. Breathing. Inlets, of. Sand. As sustenance. Of nomadic. Islands, constantly. On the move in, response to wind and wave, rolling. And migrating. Toward the edge of the continent, the. Most dynamic, geology. On earth. Elevation. Changes, are measured, in inches. A stand. Of beach grass will. Trap sand and over. Time enable. The area to grow into, a doom. On the sands, of the seas edge especially. Where, they are broad and bordered. By unbroken. Lines of wind built dunes, time. And space are suspended. There, is a sense, of, antiquity. It, is in part a sense of the unhurried, deliberation.
Of Earth processes. That move with infinite, leisure. With. All eternity, at, their disposal. The rhythm, of breathing, begins. Imperceptibly. To, match that of the serf. Where. The waves roll, in from, the open Atlantic, the. Barrier islands, are, a difficult, place for living things. It. Is a world of forces and change and constant, motion. Where. Even the sand acquires, some of the fluidity water. Offshore, the. Omnipresent, of the ocean, takes, hold. The, truths we find in the ocean depths, are far, stranger, than fiction. Near, the edge of the continental, shelf the sea-bottom plunges. Below a thousand, feet with. Extreme, currents, rushing, over the rugged seafloor. Cold, water corals, called, lophelia. Exist. In a world of darkness beneath, the warm Gulf Stream above. Lophelia. Corals, form massive. Colonies, that are thousands, even hundreds. Of thousands, of years old, archives. Of climate, change that provide habitat, for the anomalous, creatures, of the deep. The. Current warming, of the planet extends. Its reach even, to these dark. And distant, recesses, of the world one, ocean. Scientists. Refer to those parts, of the earth where, humankind. Has changed, the natural, world as the. Anthroposophy. R. The, great polar ice sheets are melting, the. Vast, oceans. Are trending, acidic. The, anthroposophy, r now. Encompasses, the, entire planet. From, our limited perspective. We. Think of land even, islands. As permanent. But, when Columbus, sailed if he had come north along the Carolina, coast, he. Would not have found the Outer Banks. Most, were not Islands. Then but, sandbars. Submerged. After, a rapid, rise in sea level. Today. These ribbons, of sand are in the midst of another major, collapse. Many. Of the developed, islands, of the Outer Banks are on the verge of breaking apart. But the wild, undeveloped. Beaches of Cape Lookout will, likely survive. Riding. The sea wind rolling. Further, westward, into core sound. Preserving. This solitude. And sense, of antiquity. The. Edge of the sea is a strange, and beautiful place. Where. The broad ocean. Leans against, the land. Those. Who contemplate, the beauty and mysteries, of earth sea. And sky, are, never. Alone or weary of life. We. Find reserves, of strength that. Will endure as. Long as life. There, is something, infinitely. Healing. In the repeated, refrains, of the natural, world. The, assurance, that dawn follows. Night and. Spring, will come after. The winter. Continents, themselves. Dissolve, and, passed down into, the sea in. Grain after grain of, eroded, land. In. Its mysterious, past, the. Sea encompasses. All the dim origins, of life, and. Receives, in the end the, remnants, of a. Life. For. All at last. Returned. To the. C2o. Sianis. The. Ocean, river, like. The ever flowing stream, of time. The. Beginning and. You.