Sunday, August 21, 2011


August has been a good month so far.

Last weekend, after lunch with my parents at Spouter's Inn, we were attacked by pirates on the Beaufort waterfront.

Then we retired to the Cru Wine Bar with Blackbeard for a tall frozen lemonade.

Thursday, our dear friends the Stevensons (David, Ceevah, Eliza and Willow) drove most of the way across the great state of North Carolina from Asheville for a twenty-four hour visit.

We had drinks, appetizers and dinner in the cockpit (kids on the bow) on Thursday evening, then went for a sail on Friday. While it was less than terrifying, some people like that. A quiet lunch ghosting along the Neuse River. Then the wind piped up a bit and David took the helm, steering us into four knots of speed.

Yesterday, Cameron and his new friend, Alyson, signed on as the newest vendors at the Oriental Famers' Market. They passed the rigorous scrutiny of the organizers and qualified as offering goods that are locally made. In barely 48 hours, the two had crafted knotted bracelets and anklets. Sales were good for their first day, so I expect they'll be back with other products.

In the photo, No, Cameron did not want his mother to take the picture and Yes, he is wearing one of his kilts.

Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I joined a couple of dozen other boaters in the annual Dinghy Poker Run. A fund-raiser for the Neuse Sailing Association, it requires no skill beyond handling your own dinghy. At each of seven stops around the various nearby creeks, you pick your poker cards, then make the best five card stud hand that you can. Once you complete the circuit, you settle onto the deck by the Tiki Bar and refresh yourself with cold drinks (even if you have already been drinking in your dinghy) and hot wings and music. Some people win prizes. I did not despite having a full house of aces over eights (oops, Dead Man's Hand).

With apologies to one of my favorite authors, Rick Bass, whose book, The Wild Marsh, I have just finished,  and notwithstanding his eloquent evocation of the month of August, I would characterize it as a blessedly boring month. Not worse than others--too much the same. By August we are weary of the summer heat, humidity and thunderstorms that fail to refresh, and we are too eager for the autumn chill that is farther in the future than we want to believe. August is a tired month as we all feel at the sunset of summer. We hope for cooler nights and almost get some of that. Still, we feel no end to the summer heat; we simply believe that the end is near.

Here in Oriental, I am relishing and loving the boredom of a month that practically marks the end of summer. I am not seeking entertainment from our weather; I have seen enough of that. In fact, more tropical cyclones lie ahead than behind. Mostly, our August this year is as refreshing as azaleas in April. The fish are not here yet, but the weather has been, for a week or so, less brutal than July. We catch our breath and feel like getting some work done in daylight again. I have done more in the past two days than in the last few weeks solely because I am not melting into a pool of snot-slick sweat.

As the sun sinks beyond the bridge, in the newness of night, a green heron chirps tentatively. Small trawlers sputter to and fro for shrimp, hearing none of the beauty of the water slapping against the dock or the wind humming through the masts in the harbor. Just before sunset, purple skies stretch along the horizon. Then the sun is gone, replaced by brilliant points of starlight across the clear night sky.

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