Life is for living and working at. If you find anything or anybody a bore, the fault is in yourself.
~ Queen Elizabeth I
If we were having coffee, I would be delighted to see you. Come on in, hugs if you’re amenable to them, and please pardon the chaos around here. M and I just returned home from a spring break adventure and haven’t unpacked yet. In addition to sightseeing, we did some shopping for birthdays and Christmas so there are shopping bags and suitcases scattered about waiting for me to put everything in its place. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, but since the house here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch is not that large, a small mess tends to take up a lot of space.
Let’s grab some beverages and snacks, and head out to the living room where we can sit by the wood stove and enjoy the heat from the fire. Old Man Winter keeps trying to bluster his way back in. Would you believe there is snow in the forecast for tonight/early tomorrow morning? We’ll be back in the 70’s by Wednesday so I wouldn’t fret about it.
How are you? What have you been up to lately? Have you traveled anywhere, been on any adventures, gone exploring, or seen any new sights? Has spring finally arrived in your area or is winter still trying to hang on? What are you reading? Have you listened to any good music or seen any good films since our last chat? Been on any walks or hikes? If you could change something about what’s been going on in the world this past week, what would it be and how would you change it?
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am currently reading Housekeeping: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson. It is described as “a modern classic.” Robinson’s prose is beautiful although sometimes confusing, and it is a book to be taken slowly, I think. I find myself going back and rereading sentences sometimes to delight in the descriptions and sometimes because I need a second reading to grasp the meaning or the metaphor. I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone, but I know some of you out there would enjoy it (if you haven’t already).
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that M and I took off on Thursday for a brief spring break trip to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. M and I have a short and memorable history with the Outer Banks. When we got married, way back in 1976, M was still an undergrad at a university in South Carolina. The day after our wedding which took place in New Jersey (where I’m originally from), we made our way south along the east coast, stopping for one or two days in Cape Hatteras at the southern end of the Outer Banks. We didn’t make it as far south as Cape Hatteras on this trip, but that’s because we wanted to explore the northern section. From where we live now, it is only about four hours of drive time for us to get to Kill Devil Hills where you’ll find the site of the famous Wright Brothers’ first flights. I always thought they took off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but it turns out Kitty Hawk, about four miles away, was the nearest town/settlement at the time of their famous flight experiments. Kill Devil Hills was incorporated in 1953 although there was a small community of settlers there when Wilbur and Orville Wright arrived to test their gliders. Where the name came from, nobody seems to know. There are legends, of course. The usual coastal stories of pirates and shipwrecks abound, and there’s something about barrels of rum strong enough to “kill the devil.”
If we were having coffee or tea or some other beverage, I would tell you that the first place we visited was Roanoke Island because we wanted to explore the Elizabethan Gardens which are part of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The Roanoke Colony was originally established by Sir Walter Raleigh during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, and the Elizabethan Gardens were established and designed in the 1950’s “as a permanent memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists” (from History of The Elizabethan Gardens).
In case you’re unfamiliar with The Lost Colony, you can read more about it here (it’s a National Geographic article with the latest theories on what happened to them). Basically, the lost or missing colonists were the third group of English settlers on Roanoke Island. The first two groups were tasked with exploring the area and included only males. The third group arrived for the purpose of settling in, and consisted of whole families, including the Dares. Eleanor White, married to Ananias Dare, was the daughter of John White, an English artist and governor of the failed colony on Roanoke Island. We know as much as we do about the colony because White returned to England for supplies for the colony. By the time he was able to return (a serious of unfortunate events delayed him for three years), the colonists had disappeared and the only clues to their whereabouts were the letters “CRO” carved into a tree, and “CROATOAN” carved on a post of the fort. White was the grandfather of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World, and she would have been three years old when her grandfather returned. Her fate, of course, is as much a mystery as the rest of the colony’s, but stories and legends about her continue to thrive.
Virginia Dare lives on in the tourism and advertising industries of North Carolina. There are locations, including a county and a trail, named after her. She is a subject of folklore, and has been featured in films, books, and television programs. According to Wikipedia, she has come to symbolize “purity and innocence,” “new beginnings, promise, and hope,” as well as “adventure and bravery.” Some southern groups in the 1920’s used her name to represent the idea of keeping North Carolina white (European-American), and even today her name has been adopted in an anti-immigration project that has been given the designation of “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the 1980’s, feminists used her name when calling for residents of the state to support the Equal Rights Amendment.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I’d apologize for rambling on about history. As you might have guessed, I love learning about the history of people, places, events, and things. Let’s move on from that, and I’ll tell you a little more about our visit to the gardens.
The Elizabethan Gardens has a beautiful collection of Live Oak trees. I almost wish I could transplant a grown Live Oak to the ranch (“almost” because I’d hate to dislodge and disrupt a tree from where it has been growing for many years unless it was absolutely necessary; I couldn’t afford it anyhow). They are, to me, fascinating in their appearance with all the curves and squiggles and wiggles in their branches, plunging downwards and then sweeping up, usually seen draped in Spanish moss. I think the Wabi-Sabi Ranch is too far north for Spanish moss, and that may be true for the trees, too, as they don’t tolerate freezing temperatures. I did not see a lot of Spanish Moss on the oaks in the Elizabethan Gardens, but there was some hanging here and there.
As for what was in bloom, the daffodils were almost finished but there were still quite a few blooms scattered about, the azaleas were just beginning to bloom, and the camellias were in full bloom. The Elizabethan Gardens’ camellia collection includes over 85 varieties. There were not many flowering trees in the gardens. A few tulip poplars, a few redbuds, and one cherry tree. Redbuds are my favorite flowering tree and they were just beginning to bloom.
There is so much more I could tell you, but I’ve rambled enough. It’s time to turn things over to you so you can tell me about your week. Thank you so much for stopping by for another coffee chat. If you’d like to hang out for a while longer, feel free to do so. It’s cloudy, but not a bad day for a walk. I don’t think we’ll see much of a sunset. We’ve been under heavy cloud cover this morning, and I think that’s expected to continue. The snow won’t arrive until early tomorrow morning so it shouldn’t be any problem getting out of here.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Thank you to Diana for hosting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.