Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Those Little Cat Feet

At the beach yesterday, pewter was the dominant color. Fog had rolled in early in the morning, and the sky melted into the Atlantic Ocean. There was no horizon. By mid-afternoon the sun, like a shiny tin disc, hung in the southwest sky, peering through the thickening cloud cover. Ferries were tied up at the docks and the sense of isolation was palpable.

Late at night, long after the sun had set, I walked down Howard Street. It was quiet, dead quiet. Not a sound was to be heard, and all was dark, save a dim light visible in Blanche's living room window and beams from a security light some distance away. Wispy layers of fog floated above the tombstones in the cemeteries.

I unfastened the latch; the hinges creaked; I stepped inside. The distant light cast ominous shadows across the graves. Gnarled oak limbs swayed slowly, and every movement sent my heart racing a tad faster. I moved gingerly among the markers, careful not to trip on foot stones, or step on graves. The fog hung heavy in the warm December air.

I stayed a while. Not too long. Just enough time to greet the ancestors and assure them that we were looking after their beloved home.

I stepped back out onto Howard Street and walked home, savoring the eerie quietness of a foggy Ocracoke night.

Our latest Newsletter is about the old Howard cemetery on British Cemetery Road. You can read the stories here.


  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Thanks for the memories, Philip... my favorite times on Ocracoke are late night walks on quiet lanes. The fog gives a protective layer, and you can hear the ocean breathing all around you.

    It's then you mentally make yourself a satellite and look down at the tiny blip of an island and feel vulnerable yet protected.
    I miss the island.

    I can feel the mist on my face now...
    S Downey

  2. Anonymous6:55 AM

    good heavens did you at least carry a flashlight -- shiver me timbers your story did i can barely type this note

  3. Oh no! No flashlight. Didn't want to ruin the experience!

  4. Anonymous12:51 AM

    New Years eve...midnight. Went out for boiled shrimp & Guinness.
    Misty, cool, ran into Joanie at the Pub, and ended up at Springers Point. Memorable, to say the least.

    Ocracoke is in my blood...and best after dark. The nights are too short.