Just as a retailer’s thoughts turn to Christmas once Halloween has passed, our thoughts turn to the coast once the fall color starts to fade here in the Piedmont. While I love a summer’s day at the beach, the coast — and coastal plain — are at their most alluring in late fall and winter. A week at a vacation beach house is swell over the summer, but a week at the coast in winter leaves memories that aren’t soon forgotten.
If fall is nature at its showiest, winter is nature at its most honest. Minus her canopy, her understory, her ground cover, she has little to hide. Stone foundations from homesteads long abandoned lie exposed. Distant mountaintops are revealed. Critters have nowhere to hide. It’s the perfect time to be in the woods, a time when you can peer deep into nature’s soul. Especially if you seek a more true form of adventure — the type of adventure that doesn’t exist on a blazed trail marked on a map. That’s why we go wild over winter.
The following post originally appeared Dec. 12, 2016. We rerun it today, with a tweak or two, because it expresses our appreciation of the season that lies ahead.
Winter’s skies are milky, indifferent. Its landscape monochromatic, a wash of grays and browns. Its weather harsh at times. And Lord knows the season is stingy with sunlight. The stuff of travel & tourism ad campaigns winter is not.
I woke up earlier than usual Tuesday morning and didn’t realize it until later. I was well into my morning routine before I happened to notice a clock.
6:10? Why am I awake at 6:10?
I looked out the living room window and saw why: the sky was already light, a glowing light even though sunrise was a good 45 minutes off. Even official twilight was a few minutes away. Yet it was already light out.
If ever there was a winter to get over your dislike of the cold, this is it.
Without dwelling, cold weather historically drives people indoors, and, this year, indoors is where you have a significantly greater chance of contracting the coronavirus. The advance of fall is already seeing a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in North Carolina and nationwide. In response, on Tuesday North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper dialed back the cap on indoor group gatherings to 10 people. Staying indoors is trouble, especially if you like people.