Green Grass and High Tides, Forever: Coastal Impressions Part 1 of 5

Is a beach simply an expanse of sand and surf?  Do many people know the difference between a bay and a sound, or a marsh and a swamp?  Two stretches of coast merely two miles apart can be vastly different places.  The qualities of sameness and divergence can be compelling points to ponder when one is native to a coastal region and traveling in another area.  My own roots belong to The  Tidewater, Virginia.  I will be posting five posts on thoughts on some southeast coastal impressions. For this offering, I turn my thoughts to Corolla, North Carolina.  These are mere snapshots of moments in time, not a comprehensive travel guide.

Corolla is the northern most village in the Outer Banks, the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina.  The drive north on Route 12 is a slow, curvy, two-lane pipeline.  During the most recent visit, at one point, it felt as if we were passing through a narrow canyon; immense three story vacation “cottages” tower over the road.  Wild horses once roamed free in the area.  The horses are now fenced off for safety as more people plant vacation cottage roots in the area. Before the fencing, I always hoped to see a herd as I drove into town.  However, I never saw a wild horse roaming free.  I did glimpse a white doe in 2001, and thought I was imagining things, as it just seemed to materialize from the scrubby road side bushes; we had been on Roanoke Island the day before, and  I thought perhaps I was being influenced by fanciful notions of Virginia Dare myths.  However, my sister also saw the doe and we stopped to watch it cross the road. It was quite the “Did that just really happen?” moment.

My daughter and I once explored the gorgeous red brick Currituck Lighthouse and surrounding grounds, including a nature walk.  This walk turned unsettling when the woodland trail fed to a tunnel of looming 12-foot tall foreign invasive species of marsh grasses that were choking out the native flora.  To our relief, we eventually spilled out onto a pier on the Currituck Sound.  The view of the sound was quite serene.  We watched blue crabs lazily scuttle about in the brackish water around the pier, before girding up our nerves to return through the “gauntlet”   of flora, as well as the one of looming vacation cottages on the drive home.

Note: “Green Grass and High Tides”  is  a song from The Outlaws on the album, Outlaws, 1975.


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