WINTER DID NOT go away gently in March, but instead was grasping and clutching with icy gusts of wind from the north. Now, finally, all of spring’s freshness and hope is here on the island. With warmer nights, my alarm clock each morning at dawn is the call and response of songbirds in the trees outside my window. The grace and blessing of dolphin sightings is even more frequent than usual and they, too, must be feeling the pull of the vernal equinox as they leap high above the surf and exuberantly roll in the waves off Taylors Creek in Beaufort. Wild red bud and native dogwood trees add sweet contrast to the neon green of new growth on old trees all along Bogue Banks. Tender marsh grass is peeking fresh green sprouts amongst the pallor of silvery brown remnants from the season before.
Migrations of far roaming flocks of strong winged geese and ducks add their thrumming and honking as they pass by overhead for cooler waters north. The deer on Emerald Isle, never known for their shyness, are bolder than ever as they leap in twos and threes and fours in search of their mate while enjoying a delicious treat of fresh flowers nibbled from my garden.
We humans have our migratory instincts as well. A daily sight on the Intracoastal Waterway now are teak and mahogany leviathans under sail or with engines churning as they depart the Caribbean, Miami, or perhaps Palm Beach for their summer ports of Newport, Boston or Maine. Locally we are witnessing island homes, long dark through their forlorn winter nights, suddenly and happily welcoming their families back again with porch doors wide open to salty breezes and cheerily lit by dusk with windows warmly glowing again.
Homeowners have returned for their first visit of the year and are using these primal spring urges to make their beach home as fresh and beautiful as the outside world is proclaiming. My favorite garden store, Carolina Home and Garden, is busily helping beach homeowners with fragrant herbs and exotic flowering tropical plants well suited for island life in brightly hued ceramic pots, companionably planted and placed for a note of cheery color on porches and decks. Newly freshened up island homes are welcoming our first rental guests of the season, as Easter has long been the traditional kick off for our seasonal visitors. We see them taking long restorative walks on still uncrowded beaches, savoring being outdoors after sitting for too long inside. Sleek as eels and ignoring the chill of the ocean, my grandchildren exclaim “we just get used to the cool water” while paddling out on surf boards again in pint sized wet suits. Stand up paddle boards and kayaks are coming off racks where they were long stored and gratefully, oars are dipped in the water again.
New life is returning to Bogue Banks and we are ready, oh so ready to lift our faces up to the warmth of the sun, stretch contented legs out on porch chairs and whisper thank you, thank you for the gift of our lives lived on this lovely island.