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The sun rises early down in the Outer Banks. It kinda creeps over the horizon somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning and looks like a small orange rubber ball off in the distance. It’s already starting to burn off the clouds that paid us a nighttime visit. For once, the air seems still and the only noise you hear is the occasional passing of cars loaded with fellow early risers who are probably in quest of finally landing the big one.

The house is quiet at that time of the morning and I wander into the living area to fire up some much needed coffee to settle my jones and wander off the back deck to light up a smoke and get some perspective on the day. The little one will be up soon. You’d think she’d like to sleep in while she’s on vacation but it somehow it doesn’t seem to be in her genes.

She’s like her father that way, she doesn’t want to miss out on anything.

Sure enough, I’m only up about fifteen minutes or so before I hear the rumbling of the covers coming from the upper floor and it’s soon followed by the sound of footsteps making their way down the stairs and into the kitchen. She wipes the remnants of sleep from her eyes and puts her head down on the counter and gives me look and a smile that indicates all is right with the world.

I conjure her up a quick breakfast of a plain toasted bagel and some fruit and a much needed glass of orange juice in order to get her blood flowing and to greet the day. I steal glances at her from the corner of my eye as she munches her meal and wonder to myself just where the hell the time went and marvel at how big she’s getting. She seems to have been born with what’s been called an “old soul” and somehow seems wise beyond her mere eleven years.

We try and talk in whispers as not to wake the rest of the tribe that’s staying at the house but the words seem to echo through walls and each sound of the clinking glasses and dishes being put in the sink seems to sound like thunder. We go outside to continue our conversation and to make our plans for the day.

We plan our agenda and stare off at the rising sun and she mentions to me that even though she sometimes feels bored that it’s a “different kind of bored”. She says that time seems to slow down some when you’re around the sea and the sand and we go and get dressed and decide to take a stroll down to the beach.

The beach itself is pretty much abandoned except for a few people trying their luck at surf casting and the occasional surfer adorned in a wetsuit trying to ride the early morning waves. We cast off our shoes and walk ankle deep in the water and the only sound you hear is the lapping of the waves and the sporadic cry of a lone seagull in search of a mate or a meal. Small white sand crabs dart in and out of their tiny holes that coincide with the tides and we try and catch them but they’re too quick for us. Each passing wave brings us a treasure of seashells and some of the more unique ones are picked up and put into pockets as souvenirs and reminders of our little excursion from the Great Midwest to the coastal waters of North Carolina.

We pick a destination somewhere off in the distance to serve as a landmark, our turning around point, but the water is getting cold on our feet and the sand is hard to walk in. Even though we’ve maybe only been gone an hour or so it seems much longer.

I think to myself that maybe she’s right. Time does indeed slow down when you’re around the ocean and I inwardly thank the people that invited us on this little trip. Even though I get to see my kid pretty much whenever I want, it always seems to be in the same element and the same confines of where and what we call home. Now, I think I see a new side to her and wish that just for a little while, instead of slowing down, time would just stop.

But I know it won’t and in a way, that’s okay. It just means that for the both of us, there’ll be some more places to go and some more memories to build.

And that my dear friends, ain’t such a bad thing.…

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