I thought Cape Hatteras would be perfect. I looked at the map and saw the long line of islands curving into the Atlantic, impossibly thin, flanked by water on both sides. I imagined beaches, waves, and dunes rising off the shore. I saw postcard scenes and nights listening to waves and watching stars.
In the ditches of the Intercoastal, I told myself that it would all be worth reaching the Outer Banks. I held them out like dream, a perfect place to smooth the rough edges of weeks along the coast.
But now I’m walking miles across mud flats and dragging a loaded boat in a few inches of water. I can’t get to shore. I’m tired and soaked. I cringe when my paddle scrapes across sand. It is a nightmare made worse by glimpses of beautiful beaches, by knowing that everything I imagined exists just out of reach, hidden behind heavy, uneven work and exhausted eyes.
I try to see it. I look and stare. But mostly I just dream new dreams of far away places where things will be easy, beautiful, and perfect.