Survivor BY: William Thompson, Easton...


March 23, 2001



BY: William Thompson, Easton

"After a year's absence, my wife and I returned to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When we went to the beach the first day, we saw the effects of previous hurricanes. Two years ago, this house was one among several beachfront residences. Today, there is no sign of the others. Still, just a hundred yards inland from the ocean, carpentry crews were busy erecting new beach homes."


Finding the energy to dance

BY Clive Muir


If you think dead trees can't dance, visit the ones that inhabit the beach at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina. I have photographed them waltzing, break dancing and doing the Electric Slide. With a casual glance, this may not be obvious, but a deeper gaze reveals that in their own way, the trees are alive and kicking.

I was in graduate school in Pennsylvania in 1991 when I saw a television segment on the Gullah people of the Sea Islands. These descendants of slaves lead humble lives on barrier islands off the South Carolina coast. I was struck by how much the Gullah act and sound like my own Caribbean folk, and I was enthralled by their physical setting: mossy oaks, marshlands and narrow roads that lead to the ocean. That summer, after graduating, I ditched corporate job opportunities to live in the Sea Islands.

After a month, I had visited about 10 beaches in the area. I found Hunting Island one afternoon while driving on Highway 21 to nowhere. I had to drive among a dense grove of trees to get there, and there were no beach buggies or vendor shacks in sight. Then I noticed the trees.

A couple years before, Hurricane Hugo had battered the Carolina coast and uprooted thousands of trees. They lay in mass burial on the beach, waiting to be taken out to sea., It seemed heartless that God would do such a thing. But then I saw something else. The trees closest to the water were not all prostrate; several stood vertically in the sand as if they were hoping to grow again, their branches stretched out in all directions. It was magical.

Hunting Island Beach has become popular - more than a million people visit annually - but I think it's mostly local folk who go there. The keeper of the park makes sure visitors don't disturb the Loggerhead turtles during hatching season or rake sand dollars from the water.

I go to Hunting Island Beach at least once a year. This past summer, my wife and I honeymooned there. I often think about the slaves that worked the nearby fields who might have escaped to hide among the trees and to swim in the ocean. I think about the tides that shift people's moods and the mossy oaks that hold many secrets of the Old South. Mostly, though, I think of hope and renewal, and of trees, doomed to be driftwood, that still find the energy to dance.

Clive Muir lives in Baltimore.


Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Norm and Clara Jacoby


"A three-hour drive west from Dublin leads to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. A day could be spent exploring the lunar-like landscape of the limestone, which becomes a rock garden of exotic colors in the spring. On a clear day, one can see the Aran Islands and the mountains of Connemara to the north.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Bonnie Engelman


"The Dominican Republic is populated by an international clientele, drawn by the beautiful beaches, great prices at luxurious all-inclusive resorts and surprisingly safe atmosphere. Go to swim, snorkel or dance the merengue.


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