I have a feeling it's going to be a really great day. My kids and I are here in Duck, North Carolina, at our beach house and in a neighborhood with which they're familiar. It's still early in the season, and not many people are here, so they can ride their bikes around the block by themselves. Everyone we see gives us at least a friendly wave, and is open for friendly chatting. You can tell that no one has anything really important to do. No one has somewhere they really need to be.
It is barely the start of the season; this part of the year is sometimes called "the shoulder season" because it comes before the real start. All of our favorite places are just opening and getting ready for business. Shop owners aren't yet weary of tourists. They've rested from their quiet, winter break and are ready to put on a smile and welcome new and old people to Duck--to earn a few dollars, of course, but also because that's what Spring means to them. Many of the shops are unveiling new iterations of themselves. The Urban Cottage outgrew its old space in Scarborough Faire and is moving to what used to be an art gallery. We cheered when we called Wave Pizza and they told us they were open. When we got there, the employees were writing the menu on the fresh and clean blackboard behind the counter.
Still, it's the beach, and we're not part of the shop opening. The weather is nice and warm, a little gift on this March day. It's already 60 degrees and sunny, and my kids are watching their second cartoon while I finish up this essay and start breakfast. Two are in pajamas, one is already in his swim trunks, sans shirt, of course. They've already made me promise that after breakfast we can ride our bikes to Duck Donuts, their favorite place.
But what will make this a great day? I think it's our to-do list. There are some things on it, but it's not very long. On this Spring Break day, I'm not trying to cram in too many things into too few hours. I know that we'll play at the beach--and that the time will wonderfully require sunscreen--for a good chunk of the day. I'll make lots of healthy meals so that yummy, not-so-healthy treats can be consumed between them.
I'm happy to be here. With my kids. What more does one really need at the beach?