“Summer Ramblings” by Patricia Cavanaugh

The Outer Banks are known for their hurricanes, shipwrecks, Black Beard the pirate, great fishing, surfing of all kinds and gorgeous beaches.  My family has had a home there in the small town of Avon since the late 50’s.  There was little development on the island except for the little village of Kinnakeet populated by the five island families, when my parents built a small 2 bedroom house on stilts because of the flooding from the Pamlico Sound and the surging ocean during late summer storms.

The week on the beach at Cape Hatteras with my daughters and their children was so special…a first time for the grandchildren at our family home.  I could feel the presence of my parents as we took the classic family photo on the stairs, myself, my daughters and their children.

I feel such gratitude for this wonderful little cottage on Sail Fish Lane.  My brother and sister-in-law have kept it much as my parents left it.  I can sense their energy everywhere.  It has been a refuge for me whether I was going through divorce or finding my writing voice or just recharging.  The street is full of old friends, and the neighbors in the village of Avon still remember my folks as the good and generous people they were.  It was such a pleasure to see their eyes light up recalling my parents good deeds during the frequent storms, helping to bring fresh water to the island and my father’s fishing/crabbing prowess.

Three generations we were on the stairs of the cottage.  As I sat there, I imagined the future with more photos of my family expanded to included great grandchildren.  It will become more common to have 4 generations of a family living together on earth at the same time as we boomers live our 30 bonus years. I plan on being one of them.

I felt a deep sense of appreciation for the simple pleasures of beach life, picking up shells with my youngest granddaughter, making jewelry at the bead shop and having a glass of wine over a delicious fresh shrimp and grits meal   with old friends and my new love.  And with this  appreciation came gratitude for my great good fortune.  I recently went to a day long conference on Pathways to Gratitude chaired by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a beloved teacher of mine.  His organization Gratefulness.org has developed a gratitude app that I have enjoyed using to remind myself of all I am grateful for.  If you don’t have a journal or journaling is just not your style this little app may be just the thing for you.

Now I am home and gearing up for the fall with all it has to hold.  I plan to continue my daily use of the gratitude app to help me focus on a sense of optimism about the future despite the many negative news stories.

Just as our elementary school teachers used to ask at the beginning of school…tell us about your summer vacation.

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