Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Joys of Youth

Picture this: I walked over the ramp at the lifeguard beach yesterday afternoon. The weather had turned sunny and warm, though a stiff breeze was blowing straight down the beach from the south. The ocean was frothy and white, whipped up by the wind. Because of the steady blow I wore a sweatshirt and hat. There by the surf were a young man and a young woman. The woman was thin, with long flowing dark hair. She was wearing a light jacket. Her companion was dressed in a bright red t-shirt. His pants were rolled up to his calf, and he was barefooted.

They were running around, laughing, and playing. One moment they were chasing each other, the next he was splashing in the incoming tide. Then they would dance in circles, or jump up on the huge, worn tree trunk that had washed up on the beach several years ago. As I passed them they were standing upright, gazing into the ocean, he behind her with his arms wrapped around her waist and his head over her shoulder.

I suppose I felt something like an old geezer, with my sweatshirt zipped up to my neck, my hands in my pockets, plodding along into the wind in my walking shoes. But at least I also felt a vicarious delight in the spontaneity and exuberance of two youngsters of our species engaged in an age-old courting ritual. May they never loose their sense of joy and play.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter chronicles the story of commercial fishing on Ocracoke, and tells of the efforts of the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association to save the island's last remaining fish house. Click here to read the entire newsletter....and learn how to make a donation.

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