Part 1: The Outer Banks-Ocean of Sky

September 10: Part I
We woke up at eleven a.m. in the comfort of our beachfront hotel room at Nags Head. The relaxing room has a laid-back upscale beach décor with two luxurious queen sized beds, plenty of storage, and a mini-fridge and microwave. It is the perfect base camp for seaside adventurers ready to explore the Outer Banks.
While my mom detoured to the lobby to have a cup of coffee, I sat on the deck and took in the vista. In the grandeur of God’s wondrous creation, I let my eyes settle into the scenery, meditating and praying the rosary. The sublime weather rested at 82 degrees in radiant sunshine, as a breeze of sweet salt air mitigated the heat.

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An ocean sky is infinite; a grand amphitheater in the chorus of the clouds, where dramas of the ages unfold in the ever-changing rhythm of coastal weather. Today the blue sky is crystal clear.
I rack my brain trying to describe the exact hue of ‘blue sky’ finding it impossible. The Nags Head Ocean Sky is a shade of blue so rich and pure, that as I sift through my writer’s list of hues, I realize that no paint color can mimic the life force of this sky. The sea and sky are in constant conversation, the sky reflecting the mood of the ocean and sand.

I allow my eyes to search the soul of the sky, the current of the wind filling my senses with the rhythm of earth and sea. If only for a simple second, I am lost on a bridge of imagination, daring myself to let go of all the world’s problem and bask in the glow of the wonders of the sea. I contemplate the history and legends of the barrier islands.

With each thunderous crash of ocean waves the peace and power of God is ignited in my soul. God is all powerful, never changing; merciful and just. The sea reminds me in a way of God. God gathers our worries and anxieties and iniquities and sends them out with the tide. He washes away the debris of heartache, in turn flooding our hearts with blessings…fortitude and grace. Apart from life and salvation itself, nature is the greatest gift of God and it is intrinsically bound in life and salvation – even agnostics or those without strong faith cannot help but look at the ocean and stand in awe, knowing the moon controls the tide, and earth grounds us in safety.
The Holy Spirit moves within the deep trenches of my heart as I close my eyes and listen to the echo of rustling dune grass, the salty air a compass to faraway and nearly-forgotten places.
Allowing the peace of water and salt to calm my anxious mind I breathe in and out, following each rosary bead in chorus with the natural rhythm of the environs.
I always find my center in prayer. The Rosary has been an amazing tool in breaking down my anxiety and finding peace in my own brokenness – able to accept healing from God – while being called to actively show mercy on my neighbor. I spent an hour praying the rosary, meditating on the mysteries of Christ and the glory of God’s creation. At times I was moved to tears as I looked at the fragile coast, the sand fighting the waves – the ocean teaches you how to live. While the sand and dunes fight against the battering current – the resilient peace is everlasting.

At one point sitting on the porch, tears fall down my face as I beg God to have mercy on the planet and grant us grace to help the beauty and natural resources. I prayed for the earth and all of God’s creation that we will be saved from global warming and work for creative solutions to come together to help our planet…

Climate Change is a real issue – no one understands that more than native North Carolinians – who have seen it first hand as the barrier islands hang by a thread. Perhaps we cannot stop the changing in the currents, but we can try to save what we can and to look for strong alternative energy solutions. I cannot fathom how man, with all its intellect and technology cannot figure out a clean energy solution. We have flat screen televisions, satellites and other high tech once space age dreams – why is there not alternative energy – it all goes back to greed and lobbying of oil and gas companies. Instead of investing in their brand to create renewable lasting solutions they would rather stay the course – while our planet suffers and the beauty of nature – which we all share falls apart – hurting farmers, entire ecosystems and people of all races and creeds.
If you don’t believe in climate change we can at least look at the BP Oil Spill and realize oil is not a great resource to be pumping out in the 21st century.
I am mostly an optimistic but the constant barrage of the news insisting we are all doomed – doesn’t help anxiety – we all need to come together and allow healing. Perhaps God is using this issue to force mankind to lay down their weapons and selfishness and go after something that we can all agree on – our common home – the seven seas of the ocean’s tide that connect us all in the rhythm of air, wind, water and fire. I refer to fire as the stars and lighthouses that guide sailors home…perhaps if we look at the stars and be guided by the lights in the darkness – the fire red of a Nags Head sun we’ll all find our way back…not back to Eden, but to a safer place in the sun.

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