Friday, May 27, 2016

In which Ginny becomes a Duckling

This weekend I'm going to Duck Beach! I'm super excited to go again — this is a blog post I wrote after I first went two years ago and I never got the photos to work how I wanted and so I was too lazy to post it. I thought it would be fun to post it anyway. Here you go!

No, not in the classic fairytale sense, in the LDS-version of Spring Break sense! If you haven’t watched the documentary From Duck Beach to Eternity (don’t worry, I haven’t either) let me enlighten you:
Lots of seashells. And tide pools (not pictured).

Duck Beach is in Outer Banks, North Carolina. There are more beach houses then I have ever seen and they are practically mansions. During Memorial Day Weekend, single Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from the Eastern sea-board (and farther west!) flock to Duck Beach in droves, rent houses with their friends and many shenanigans commence. As a friend put it, "Duck beach: where you can spend time with your closest 500 Mormon friends."

From what I’ve heard, there’s always a New York house and that’s where a lot of the craziness goes down. My reports tell me that there was also a Tennessee house, a San Francisco house, a Utah house and multiple DC houses.

My friend Ashley decided to put a house together. And I kind of helped. Well, I was more like emotional support and helped with groceries.

Our house, aptly nicknamed “Procrastinator’s Paradise”, wasn’t open until Saturday but we were lucky enough to tack ourselves on to another house Friday night so we could set up and get all that pesky driving out of the way. Traffic was horrendous, but being at the beach was totally worth it! (Plus I’m from Arizona. I’m used to driving hours to get to the closest beach.) I wanted to check out the Atlantic ocean the moment we got there but it was late and started raining shortly after we arrived. The lightning was magnificent, but I knew my mom would kill me if I stayed outside for long. If I had a better camera (meaning, if I had an actual camera instead of my phone camera . . . .), I would post pictures. Just imagine monsoon-worthy lightning. It was lovely.

Duck Doughnuts!
One of our friends brought them Saturday morning.
They're a delicious tradition (or so I'm told).
I went to the beach first thing in the morning. I think that the beach is the most therapeutic place in the world. If I went once a month, I’m sure I’d be a lot saner than I am, haha. (Or less stressed? I don’t think I’m *actually* crazy. Just for the record.)

Differences I saw between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean:

Atlantic Ocean!
So, this wasn’t my first time in the Atlantic. Last summer, I got to dip my toes from Bath’s rocky shore, so the Atlantic from sandy Whalehead Beach was different in that regard. I’ve heard the Atlantic is warmer than the Pacific. Maybe it’s just early in the season, but they seem to be the same temperature to me. That didn’t stop me from going in, of course! Being in the waves is one of my favorite things, even if it got a little rough Monday.

There seemed to be more wildlife. The beach was full of little holes where crabs live. In the morning, the beach was covered with little crab tracks from their scurrying.

Home sweet home!
The birds were my favorite. They would stay along the tide to eat something, I’m guessing, although I never saw what it was. They would run around on their little stick legs and then, when the wave was too big for them, they would all fly away, glide for a second, and then find a new spot where the tide was less intense.

Not everything was alive, though. Friday night’s storm brought a dead form of ray to the beach.

The next day, he was gone. The sea giveith and the sea taketh away.

Cheerwine counts as wine, right?
A lot of Saturday was spent taking care of house business. This was perfect because I am a pale who sunburns after three minutes in the sun. Ashley and I went to Food Lion, which is a grocery store. We were able to pick up this North Carolina exclusive soda called Cheerwine. Apparently it’s a big deal (Ashley was very adamant that we buy some.) Honestly, it tasted like cream soda to me. Others thought it tasted like cherry cream soda. Either way, it was good, especially as a creamsicle.

Saturday night, the Utah house got a sound permit for a dance party on the beach. It was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had at a dance. I don’t know if it was because it was under the stars, or because it was so dark no one could see my horrible dance moves, or if it was because it was on the beach and so everyone was uncoordinated and stumbling, but it was a blast! I laughed so hard. It was great! Only low point: they played Blurred Lines. I don’t know how anyone can listen to that song in good conscience, but that’s a rant for another time. [NOTE: When I first wrote this post, Weird Al's parody "Word Crimes" hadn't come out yet. I submit that it's much better song and now you can like the song and learn a thing or two about grammar.]

The other people from our house may have wimped out, but we kept dancing!

Go Seahawks! Amen!
Sunday we drove to Kitty Hawk for church in a junior high school! Apparently, the local branch rents out the junior high during Memorial Day weekend because there are so many young single LDS members for church that week.

The lost colony of Roanoke was nearby so I convinced everyone in my car that we HAD to go there.

Site of a Pre-Colonial alien abduction?!
Cliff notes version for those of you who snoozed through American history: once upon a time, England sent men, women and children to the new world. They set up a colony in Roanoke. After a while, they ran out of supplies and sent the governor, John White, back to England to help them out. They decided on a sign, a Maltese cross, as a signal for danger. It took White a longer time than he expected to get back to the colony. By the time he arrived, the colony was deserted, there wasn’t a sign of anyone, including his daughter and granddaughter, Virginia Dare, the first English child to be born in America. The only thing that was left behind was two words carved into a tree and a post: “Cro” and “Croatoan.” White had to leave before conducting extensive searches because of a storm and the doomed colonists were never heard from again. Makes you grateful for modern technology, huh? I’m glad we don’t have to mess around with carving trees anymore.

Smile, something bad happened here!
Once we were home, it was mostly about relaxation. A lot of our housemates went down to the beach and I told a couple of fortunes (although maybe one shouldn’t divine on the Sabbath . . .)
One of the fortune-seekers drew my caricature as payment.

Sunrise . . .
Sunset (from the previous day.)
Monday was a beach day. I woke up early to see the sunrise (quite a feat for me!) It was beautiful to see the sun kiss the ocean good morning.

Often I prefer sunsets (I’m not an early riser and sunrises are almost always orange. What’s up with that?) but I was glad to see the peaceful tide. The beach was almost entirely devoid of human footprints, but, in a couple of hours, the beach was a social scene! There were so many characters, including five guys in short, matching swim trunks. Couples were getting together and vying for attention which made people watching a glorious pastime.

I spent the whole day at the beach and then we drove home.

Before I sign off, I know you’re all dying to know: did I find romance at Duck Beach, a place famous for stormy make-outs (and, well, other things)?! Sorry kids, the only romance I internalized was the tragedy of Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I cried salty tears by the salty waves. Oh, and the much-sadder-then-I-was-expecting untimely love of Helen Loomis and Bill Forrester in Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Next beach trip I am taking fluffier beach reads; I need some escapism every now and again! Recommendations are always appreciated! (Unless I get a little more adventuresome and find myself a beach fling. But that seems like a lot more work and a little more awkward!) And I hope the beach blessed some of my friends in their blossoming Duck love. Only time will tell!