Sunday, August 12, 2012


Riders cross the Neuse on the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch ferry
I could repeat much of what I wrote last year in my post titled "August". And it would apply. Again. A boring month. Not because of our activities, only the weather that has become tiresome in its overall monotony. The heatwaves have passed (we hope for the year), and much of our weather eye will be cast toward the west coast of Africa as more storms begin to spin off the Sahara toward Cape Verde Islands and the far west Windward Islands in the Caribbean. The Cape Verde area is the primary birthing ground for hurricanes that find their way jabbing and feinting, slipping and roaring up the east coast, searching for a landfall. 

A few highlights from last summer that also recurred:
All three happened this weekend. The Dragon Boat races were yesterday morning. No, neither Cameron, Taylor nor I paddled this year despite having enjoyed last year when we beat in one heat a boat of Marines (average age some 30 years below our boat's). This year began much the same as last year's races with a practice session on the water on Friday. Like last year, it was blowing 20+ and the Neuse was kicking up wild. Two boats sank, and the others had a dry-land practice. We remember fondly our own sinking and the lack of a decent bailer. A delicious fried chicken and deviled egg picnic lunch brought by my parents, cooling breeze in the shade trees along South Avenue, hot sun, warm river water and late day chafe from hopping in and out of the boats all day. Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina.

Head to head (near boat missing its dragon head) action last year
Sadly, this year's dragon boat races were abbreviated by a bold morning squall and storm that ripped the river into shreds of white, swamping two of the dragon boats and putting forty-four people into the maelstrom. Great fun to slog through waist deep water in breaking waves towing a sunken thirty foot boat. (see below). Two boats made it safely back to Town Beach.

Swamped Dragon Boat yesterday
photo by
In Beaufort last summer, we dodged cannon fire as the pirate ships strafed Front Street, pirates marauded the streets and a young pirate saluted his fallen comrades (knowing that their demise increased his share of the booty). We skipped the carnage this year; the same storms that soaked the Dragon Boat races drenched Beaufort in the morning, but not the pirates' powder or spirits. The invasion proceeded early afternoon.

Young scalawag
And last August, the Stevensons sailed Wild Haggis on a lazy, light air day as we dined on the river. We did not sail this year, the kids swimming in the pool instead. The moms sneaked out to The Bean for some private time, then the rest of us followed. Two boats at the Town Dock and a schooner near the fuel dock.

Life is a ceaseless procession of moons, cycles and seasons. There is comfort in the return of what is familiar and remembered. Each year the Perseid meteor shower returns as it has this past week, comet dust and debris swinging through the solar system and raining down through earth's atmosphere on an annual schedule. The drum and tarpon move up the Neuse River, each in its own season. We depend on these cycles and survive on the security of the repetition (more so when we were closer to the earth and the wild).

Motion is constant. Recurrence is perpetual in nature. Change is never-changing, endless. What we formerly "knew" is replaced by what we know now. Old facts are superseded by new facts. Knowledge is not static. We are always learning, observing and adapting what we think we know to what we learn.

Although we try to live in the present, we cannot help imagining the return of autumn chill and north winds that are a month away. Enjoy the end of summer.

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