The more complex our world gets, the more we need to distance ourselves from it. I am blessed to be living in an unbelievably beautiful place where I can easily escape the daily pressures of life. Retreating to nature has always helped me and living where nature is at my doorstep keeps life’s irritations mostly under control.
Things were different before we moved here. When life in the corporate world got tough, I would retreat to a hiking trail I maintained high on the side of a mountain near Roanoke, Virginia. There with my Labrador pal, Chester, I could recharge my batteries and find some insight to help me survive another quarter.
Even the mountain trail was not enough at times. More than once I can remember fleeing to Cape Hatteras and checking into a motel with only pay phones and no cell service. My situation was far from unique. Modern life takes its toll on humans. Sometimes getting away from our connected world is the only solution.
I actually can easily tell the symptoms in others. You send them an email and the only thing they read before they respond is the title. Years ago people would take two or three weeks of vacation and try to decompress. Today folks are afraid to leave work for that long because they might not have a job when they come back. If you only take a week away from your job, you probably have not really left it behind especially if you are working weekends just so you can go on vacation.
While money is a lot harder to come by outside of corporate America, life is much more rewarding. There are still pressures and things which need to be done and make no sense, but you do have more control and that in itself is rewarding.
Now when I seek out a wild place, it is not so much to help me recover but just to appreciate the beauty of it and to share it with others. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I can still take the long walks needed to find the wildness that has helped me so much during my life.
Living in a special place like the Crystal Coast gives me a lot of choices when I want to go view our world as few see it today. Whether I put the kayak in Raymond’s Gut and paddle out to the middle of the White Oak River or take my skiff down the river to the marshes between Swansboro and Bear Island, I rarely have trouble finding a private place. Not many people wander the salt marshes.
Yet among all the wild places that I love, one stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is the Point on Emerald Isle. Perhaps having over forty years of history with one piece of sand helps, but I think it is more than that. First, it is one of those places where civilization seems a lot farther away than it actually is. Second, it is never the same and I know that the ocean can reclaim it at any moment. The stunning beauty that I see at the Point never fails to inspire me.
I doubt there is any other place on the North Carolina coast where you can park your car and walk less than two miles along the beach and find yourself in a place so unique and so much a part of nature.
The Point is a battleground where the ocean and sound vie for position. Wind, water, and waves continually change the battlefield and we get to watch. The stark beauty of the sand and water stretching as far as the eye can see is impossible to convey in just a few pictures. A recent online photo album which I am preparing for our updated 2013 Emerald Isle travel guide has nearly ninety pictures in it, and I still feel that it barely let you taste the Point’s beauty. You can sample a few of the pictures in this album. You will have to wait for my new Kindle book to see the full photo album.
There are some other places in the world where I have perhaps dreamed of hiking, but unfortunately I would have to go through far too much civilization to get to those places. It would take something very spectacular to get me to travel very far from these beaches that I love so much.
Spring has just gotten here so the best part of the year is still to come for beach lovers. It will not be long before I will be wading the waters along the shore and sometimes even carrying a fishing rod along with my camera. First the water will be a shock to the system, then it will feel refreshing in the heat of July, and finally in the fall, the water is sometimes warmer than the air.
I know that I am lucky to living where I am living. You give up a few things to live in a place this beautiful and peaceful, but you get so much more in return. As my t-shirt says, “Never Look Back.”