I left school on Friday and headed for Elizabeth City. I had not seen Lyla in almost three weeks, and it felt like longer. I had bought a full tank of gas on Thursday, as already some stations were out of it. I was quite determined to get to the village by the laughing river, before the next storm came through. . .and thankfully, I did.
The sky over the village was gray and so was the river water. This made the village seem quiet and sleepy. No one was out to see the magnolia still in bloom nor the dogwoods first red leaves. Lamps burned brightly in the windows of the quaint cottages, as well as the stately manor homes. What a pretty picture it made. The little bridge was already sparsely covered in water, by the time I crossed it . The large flat rock, that Lyla had wanted to nap on, in July, was hidden under the gray water, like a sunken treasure-and to me it was just that.
It wasn’t too long, after I arrived, that Lyla and I were watching it rain, from the porch. The constant wind was cool and sometimes blew raindrops on us. The rain was silver in the light of the street lamps and it fell generously on the “just and the unjust” as it is written.
On Saturday, conditions were the same, as had been predicted. This did not stop us from making some last minute plans to go to the beach. The Atlantic ocean is just thirty minutes or so from Elizabeth City, and so in good faith that the sun would shine, Will, Jenny, Lyla, Miss Claudia and I packed a few things and we were off to the seaside. As it turns out, Miss Claudia is a great traveling companion. She stopped by a bakery and purchased lemon bars and cheesecake bars before she left Elizabeth City. On the way, she stopped at a roadside shop that had fresh peaches and watermelon. There was also a bakery that sold fresh bread and pecan pies. She bought pear and fig preserves for the bread. Well, that made a difference, in the state of our affairs.
The sun was shining brightly on Sunday morning. After breakfast, Jenny and Will walked to the beach, with Lyla. It is a short walk, comparable to my walk to the oldest barn on the rabbit patch. I joined them later. The beach was not as crowded, as I had expected. Kites were soaring and umbrellas of every hue lined the shore. It was a happy scene to view. Lyla played in the sand and loved the kites. I loved the yellow butterflies. They were everywhere. How beautiful they were fluttering above the ocean. They looked like confetti, I thought. When I got back to the cottage, I learned they were named cloudless butterflies and were preparing for migration to Florida. Whatever their plans, I was glad to have seen them on their merry way to somewhere.
After spending the morning on the beach, we opted for a picnic on the top deck. From there, we could see the ocean over the dune, and smell the salt air. The “Joe Bell” flowers dotted the landscape . The bright yellow and orange blossoms looked so dainty that it was hard to believe that they could survive on sand and wind full of salt-but they do, dependably. The cottages along the shore are all shades of blue, from lavender to periwinkle. There are also pink ones and turquoise, yellow-well almost every color can be found in a short distance. Trees do not grow so tall and the birds do not resemble the woodland birds, I am used to. It is such a different world, just a short drive from the laughing river.
Will and Jenny took Lyla to visit friends, after the picnic. Miss Claudia and I relaxed at the cottage. I spent some time sitting in the sunshine, much like the habit of my cat, Christopher Robin. I tried not to think of anything, except the warm sunshine and the soft cool breeze that was blowing. It worked-and I nearly fell asleep. Later on, Miss Claudia ordered us plates of fresh seafood and her first cousin, Vivian and husband Val came. They have a cottage just a few miles away. (Vivian reads the Rabbit Patch Diary) I found them delightful and friendly folks.
In late evenings, Lyla and I would walk to the beach to see the moon. It was an almost full moon, we saw last night. The sky was pink after sunset. The ocean followed suit, and for a while, appeared the water was pink while a silver moon was rising. It was a beautiful sight. The waves weren’t causing the same commotion they had earlier, but instead, broke gently. The crashing sound of the waves was now more like a contented purr. Lyla ran about in complete freedom, as the only other folks on the beach, were some fishermen in the distance. We lingered on the shore, til it was dark and Lylas’ hair was full of sand. We walked back to the cottage hand in hand. Neither of us said anything. Holding hands was enough. Miss Claudia had the porch light on, like a beacon, welcoming us back.
Sometime today, we will head inland where mockingbirds sing and trees are tall and mighty. . .where fields lie golden and silent. . .and the leaves of the dogwood are turning red.
Dear Diary, I am glad for oceans and silver moon shine. I am glad for the yellow butterflies of September . . and kites with long dancing tails. I am glad for a world with sandy beaches strewn with shells and . . . tree lined sidewalks where acorns fall .