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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Ann Richter

Words to End, Words to Begin...

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Black-and-white stripped lighthouse against a blue sky
Bodie Island Lighthouse, Outer Banks, NC

If you’re reading this, I can assume you’ve made it to the end of 2020. Congrats! (Although maybe I should hold off. Who knows what 2021 will bring?) In any case, I figure I’d add to all the reflections, predictions, and inspirational thoughts that proliferate with yeast-like intensity this time of year. And now it’s literally just dawned on me: Aren’t we also entering a new decade?

Anyway, I won’t sink too deeply into the sentimental because I’m not the type. But I’d like to tell you about a little road trip I took, and end with a poem inspired by it. The poem is where I get all pensive and introspective, so feel free to scroll down if that’s more your thing.

So the trip. It was three days that passed like a millisecond, which is one of the reasons I wanted to immortalize it in BlogLand. Our plan was to visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with a few stops/excursions to the “Inner Banks.” One of my fondest memories will be our detour to historic Edenton—a charming little city on the Albemarle Sound.

We were only in Edenton about an hour, first visiting the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center, which doubles as a museum. It was there where I bought my only souvenir of the trip—a book journaling a local man’s observations of birds visiting his large property (From Hawks to Hummingbirds, by Paris Trail). I started reading it during the trip and it immediately brought a smile to my face. Then there was the “Women of Distinction” exhibit, where I read about Josephine Napoleon Leary, a freed slave turned real estate mogul. At another exhibit, a friendly older gentleman gave me the backstory of a vintage trunk of items on display, one that had been hidden in the shadows of an attic in town. He was particularly excited to inform me that the trunk had a fold-out ironing board!

Pictured below are the Leary exhibit, one of her buildings, and the mysterious trunk of items.

Afterwards Klaus and I strolled the historic neighborhoods, said hi to friendly people, and checked out real estate listings displayed in a storefront window. Oh, and would you believe there was a Sears appliance store sandwiched between the charming little shops on Main Street? As a child of the seventies/eighties, I felt like I’d stepped back in time.

I won’t bore you with the details from the rest of the trip, even though it wasn’t boring at all. Here, let me just sum it up: Dunes, crashing waves, lighthouses, long drives, more charming places (Manteo on Roanoke Island, for instance), casual beach dining, pelicans, sea oats, live oaks, and wax myrtles.

Okay, so now here’s the poem I came up with today, which will double as the more reflective part of the post. Happy New Year, and God bless!

Untitled (for now)

I stand against it, this wind

that makes waves thunder,

flags and banners flap.

A seagull hovers inches over

the shoreline, a feather-like

descent, letting the wind

decide when it touches down.

A pelican leading its flock slams

invisible brakes, turns, and

the others follow like a school

of fish guided by the current.

Perhaps the gull and pelican

are onto something.

Instead of fighting the wind,

maybe I should yield to its

spirit force—His Spirit—

and discover where It leads.

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