This year vacation has had a special meaning to me. I am here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Arthur, the first hurricane of the season came through last night. Up near the Virginia border– where we are, there was little damage. Some people here in the house spent time in the middle of the night checking on the storm. I slept through except for waking a couple of times when I heard the wind and rain.

This area is subject to hurricanes each summer. A big one such as Sandy hasn’t struck here for a while. The barrier islands have been and continuing to be built up with three and four story homes strictly for vacation rental. No one “lives” in them. As a consequence they are not all well constructed. What will happen if a Sandy strikes here and the island is caught between flooding from the sound and the wind and wave from an angry ocean? Will rental companies rebuild or take the insurance money and go elsewhere.

I learned at the wild horse museum, the area that is supposed to keep them wild and free is also now subject to having houses built on the dunes. The dunes which form to protect the land from the ravages of the ocean.

What causes our need to have a place within a few feet of the water. We look at islands in the far east where poor people live close to the sea because that is where there survival comes from. When disaster strikes there, we ask why do they live so close knowing the danger? Their answer, it is our food source.

We have no such demand on us, yet are drawn to the beach, to be near the water, even when it destroys the very part of the land we cherish for its beauty. We come for the beach, but every house has its own pool. Each complex has a large pool. Many visitors never even make it to the beach.

It is a puzzle.

For me, vacation has meant a chance to read, enjoy being with my family and my daughter-in-law’s family, to go the beach, catch the dolphins at play in the waves, and a time to sit quietly.

I wish for you a vacation that gives you pleasure and rest whether it is away or at home.

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