The Sea is Indifferent

Sometimes the is sea is benign, sometimes it is dangerous; always it is indifferent.

Gunnar Hansen

I was given a good book recently by a friend at a poker game. Tom worked for many years at a well-loved used bookstore near the university. Toots, his wife, recently retired as a librarian. They’ve never owned a TV, to my knowledge. Needless to say, they are good sources of good books. The walls of their house are insulated with them, on shelves stacked floor to ceiling.

Tom still wanders into any used bookstore he passes, disappearing for hours I imagine, and at yard sales skips the rusty tools and goes straight for the tables where the books are kept. With so much experience sifting, he has a knack for finding unusual gems he knows will interest me.

This one, Islands at the Edge of Time by Gunnar Hansen, is out of print; but used ones are still available on Amazon.

 

 

It covers all the types of barrier islands along the East Coast, from Texas to Maine, with a special emphasis on the ones I know best – where my parents live between Charleston and Savannah, and of course the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands. The way they are formed, how they shift and change shape constantly, etc.; all of which is eminently interesting if you have spent any time on them.

But it also explores the history of these barren and tenuous places, the people who are drawn to them; and the special feeling of desolation and power surrounding you there, where wind and water and sand alter the landscape constantly.

 

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