Commentary

Snow: Deserted beach, rutting season, ‘Obama fish’

November 3, 2012 

“Off season” at the beach is a different place, almost empty, even a little eerie.

At Indian Beach, a stone’s throw from Salter Path, it is as if the entire area has been evacuated in the face of a nuclear attack.

The beach itself stretches for miles without signs of humanity, except the one fisherman, the lone survivor of the swarm that played, sunned, swam and slept through the spring and summer on the sandy Shangri-la.

As I walk past the empty pool, I can almost hear the shrieks and squeals of happy, splashing children. The once-busy lobby of the condo complex is now empty except for me, as I use my laptop.

At night, a half-open window brings the soft sound of the ocean tide lulling us to a sleep like a mother’s lullaby. The slumber is deep, untroubled.

Each morning, I sense my wife quietly slipping out of bed to sit by the window to see the sun rise, as poet Emily Dickinson says, “a ribbon at a time.”

Kevin Willis, our manager, introduces me to an angler I’ve been watching cast for fish for days with nothing to show for his effort.

I try to prod Roy, an amiable sort, into telling me what inner need keeps him out there for hours waiting in vain for a tug on his line.

“Fishing gives me time to work out my problems, do a lot of thinking,” he explains. His current failure to reel in fish, he blames on politics.

“Obama’s fault,” he insists. “They’re Obama fish. That’s what they are.”

And I think to myself, Barack Obama may be the first and last president to lose because he didn’t get the anglers’ vote.

Great reading

If you like excellent, full-bodied writing, check out Pat Conroy’s “My Reading Life.” You won’t be disappointed, even if you aren’t Southern born.

In a piece about Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” which he describes as “The Iliad With a Southern Accent,” Conroy writes:

“‘Gone With the Wind’ was not just a book; it was an answer, a clenched fist raised to the North, an anthem of defiance. If you couldn’t beat the Yankees on the battlefield, then, by God, one of your women could rise from the ashes of humiliation to write more powerfully than the enemy and all the historians and novelists who sang the praises of the Union. ... It will long be a favorite book of any country that lost a war.”

Conroy notes that the curse of slavery lurking in the plot’s background prompted some critics’ disdain for the best-selling epic.

Rutting alert

It’s ironic that both the political season and the rutting season for male deer are peaking at the same time. Reader Wendell Murray of Raleigh reminds us to be on the lookout for the plethora of amorous bucks on the move in search of romance.

Murray said that on a recent trip to visit relatives in Princeton, a 100-mile round trip, he spotted eight to 10 dead deer on the roads. One near Millbrook High School in Raleigh was missing its antlers. Apparently, someone had collected a trophy for his den wall.

Wikipedia says the average peak day for rutting is Nov. 13. During the bucks’ active carousing, motorists and deer alike become endangered species as the animals with only one thing in mind rush willy-nilly into our streets and highways.

Some years ago, a Wake County’s schools superintendent was killed when a buck crashed though his car’s windshield, its antlers piercing the driver’s heart.

Foothills candor

Friends Rachel and Sid Eagles, recently vacationing at the Chetola Inn near Blowing Rock, asked the young desk clerk where they could purchase mountain apples.

Without hesitation the lad replied, “At the Food Lion, Mister.”

Asked by Sid if they were local, the fellow gave him a puzzled look and turned away. A housekeeper directed them to an orchard where they found Winesaps in abundance.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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