Paddling and Art, Whoever He Is

This morning our bed woke us at the crack of dawn, because it has one of the five worst mattresses of all time. We went down to the Liberty station for coffee, dishwashing detergent, and donuts, and on the way out, I saw a flyer in the window for an art show at Hatteras High School in Buxton. Hmmm, I thought. Hold onto this idea.

After a donut-intensive interlude, we decided to find out if this girl can kayak this summer. We left our own kayaks at home with the dog and the house-sitter, mostly because I probably could get INTO the SS Diet Dew, but I would never get out. Instead, my Beloved rented a sit-on-top, and he managed to rent a relatively flat-keeled one. The question was, could I sit on it without hip pain.

And I can! General rejoicing ensues. Sitting down is the only issue here , since two years of “assistive devices” have given me upper body strength to spare. Woohoo! Off to Pea Island we paddle, me chortling like a cartoon villain with a ray gun.

Geez Louise, how I love this! In the morning light, laughing gulls dive and swoop for their food, making loud plashing noises and trying to steal each others’ fish. We glide over eelgrass jungles, where crabs scuttle and skates sail. (We actually saw a big one just off our dock, which means that Sarah is not going to go near the Sound this year, which bodes ill for the annual Sound Football Challenge. I digress.)

We stalk egrets, great blue herons, and night herons. We watch an egret dart into the water and come up with its flashing, silver breakfast in its beak. Schools of four-inch fish leap and sparkle out of the water. They have blue spots on their tails; I don’t know what they are. A school of about twenty flying-fish-like things leaps and sails along the surface. It’s enchanting.

On the way home, my Beloved explores all the inlets, deeper since the storm. (Really deep, actually; an exploring paddle can’t find the bottom.) One of these opens up into the Round Pond, and we have an amazing paddle around a place that we have never been able to get to before. Birds are everywhere, and marsh periwinkles look like little jewels on the cordgrass. Glasswort, an ancient algal plant, looks coral, red beneath and green above. The whole place is quiet, except for the chattering birds and the gentle dip of paddles.

By the time we get back, I am sun-drenched and happy. A morning’s paddle will do that for you.

So I was all set for the Hatteras Art Show. I expected a bunch of things hung on walls, with a lot of elderly patrons of the arts stroking their chins. What I got was a gymnasium full of friendly people in booths selling beautiful things. Here are some of my faves, and if anyone wants to give me one of Pembroke Bryant’s rings for Christmas, I won’t turn it down.

Sea, Sand, and Hand is Pembroke’s official website. His sea glass jewelry is amazing. I bought a pair of amber glass earrings, but I loved all of it. He use silver and gold in clean, spare designs.

My other fave is Stephanie Kiker, whose work can be found at Lightkeeper Gallery Her joyful, playful designs capture the emotions that I feel paddling among the eelgrass and the birds. After I got back to the house, I realized in some amusement that I already own two of her prints. Wish I had remembered that when we were talking. She has a coloring book that I bought in sheer, unmitigated delight.

All of this made me miss John Mowder very much. He has moved on to another chapter in his life that does not include Rodanthe, and, of course, his charming, art-filled home was in the North Beach campground, which now does not allow permanent installations. More’s the pity; I miss you, John. Some of his work can still be found at Moon Over Hatteras, if you look.

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