Our Fourth in Corolla

by Rob Tiller

Corolla day three-0449My sister Jane invited us out to see her family for the 4th of July at their place on the Outer Banks, at Corolla. We drove out Thursday evening and made good time, arriving in just under 4 hours. Keith cooked a delicious vegetarian lasagna, and we caught up on family news.

I brought along several lenses, including the heavy Sigma 150-500, in hopes of shooting sandpipers scurrying on the beach in the early morning. On Friday morning, I got out to the beach by 6:30, but sadly, there were no sanderlings. It was peaceful, though, walking on the beach at low tide. I shot a few ring-billed gulls. There were little ghost crabs that scuttled down their holes as I approached, and pelicans flying in formation. Just back from the dunes, there were lots of purple martins doing aerobatics.
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Everyone was still asleep when I got back, so I had time for a run. The temperature was mild, and I moved along with reasonable pep for 40 minutes. My heart rate monitor gave me a peak reading of 167, and an average of 153. Keith made gluten-free popovers for breakfast, one of which I filled with blueberry jam.

It’s great to read at the beach. Over the next couple of days, I caught up with my backlog of magazines. Ever since my New Yorker days, I’ve had a thing for magazines, and I like it when they come in the mail, but it’s not easy to keep up with the in flow. I flipped through and read parts of: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Golf, Scientific American, Sport Diver, The Economist, Outdoor Photographer, and Opera News.

I also got well into a new novel, Meatspace, by Nikesh Shukla. The narrator is a young Indian guy in London trying to make his mark as an author and social media savant. Gary Shteyngart (a wonderful writer) gave it a great blurb: “the greatest book on loneliness since The Catcher in the Rye.” It is both painful and funny.
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Jane and Keith are much more conservative than we are. It’s not often that we hear views really different from ours, and it’s bracing – we should do it more. Anyhow, we all talked about some of our favorite gripes and worries (for J&K: government incompetence, IRS incompetence) (for R&S: the misbegotten wars on drugs and terror, global warming) and maybe benefitted from different perspectives. Anyhow, we’ve learned how to listen to each other and disagree with respect.

One afternoon, Jane took us on a walk through the nearby maritime forest park, an unusual ecosystem with tall pines and short scrubby hardwoods. We had hopes of sighting some of the Corolla wild horses there, but didn’t. We did see a heron, an egret, and lots of beautiful dragonflies.
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On Sunday morning I had another go looking for birds to photograph on the beach, and again found almost none. I did another 40 minute run, going a bit slower, and did some stretching. We had another delicious breakfast (Belgian waffles with ice cream and blueberries), and soon after hit the road. We’d hoped to beat the island traffic, but didn’t: it took us a full hour to finish the 15 miles to Duck, and it stayed slow all the way to 158.