Well, if the calendar hadn’t already let you know, the roars of Bike Week surely did: “The Season” is at hand. Since I moved here two years ago and have been all the way through this cycle now, I’m often asked whether I prefer the quiet of winter to the rush and bustle of the shoulder- and high-season months. The truth is I like them both. How about you?
Living in downtown Manteo, the hush of an early winter morning offers a serene start to the day, and the stillness of the evening streets a peaceful ending. And of course the tranquility (between stormy days) of the beach and Sounds in the quiet months is a deeply restorative pleasure. Yet there are days when I miss the sound of voices drifting up as crowds wander the shops, evenings when I’m impatient for a favorite restaurant (or frozen custard stand) to reopen, afternoons when I wish I could wade into that beckoning and beautiful water without going numb to the knees.
In summer, the bright colors and sun-struck faces of the visitors parading as if for my benefit below my balcony are a delight; the wealth of places to spend an hour or two in company and the bounty of activity our home unpacks for the incoming crowds give me endless opportunities for pleasure as well. There’s the feel of water under the kayak, or the waves making my body weightless; there’s the joy of welcoming the summer visitors who choose to spend part of their precious week with us on Sunday. Yet I grumble over the longer time it takes to get anywhere, the need to adapt my Saturday plans, or the lines at the favorite year-round haunts I can stroll into at a moment’s notice in winter.
The seasons of our community life here, like the seasons of our own life, are a steady flow of mixed blessings. Most of the time, what makes the difference is which way I choose to turn my attention. When I’m at my best, I recognize that I can’t have one aspect of life without welcoming its necessary companion: No triumph without struggle; no growth without change; no love without loss; no joy without sorrow.
We are whole beings, living a finite life touched with delights we wish could last forever. May the gentle rhythms of our seasonal home remind us always to greet each day in appreciation and gratitude, loving what is, seeking always to nurture and increase the joy, bounty, and love in the world for ourselves and for all our traveling companions on life’s journey.
In faith, David