Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Arthur Spends The Fourth On The Coast

Well, it seems the first tropical cyclone of the season formed off the east coast of Florida early this morning. Here in Atlanta we can almost tell something's brewing in the Gulf Stream. First, a noisy derecho roared out of Tennessee yesterday bringing monsoon rains, severe storms and high winds to the region before slicing across Georgia into the Florida panhandle. Second, we awoke this morning to heat and low humidity. And third, the steady north-northeast breeze was a sure sign that the tropics were restless.  Indeed, it appears our coastal neighbors will have to contend with Tropical Storm Arthur this week.  Arthur doesn't appear like much of a threat but you can be assured there will be amazing rip currents on the barrier islands along the Southeast Bight.  Along with the clouds and rain, it may not be much of a vacation weekend from north Florida to the Chesapeake Bay. 

I doubt that Arthur will be much of a wind threat so being on a rainy beach in a cozy space with someone you love, a good book, and happy music sounds like a fine option. Families may find themselves with a bit more of challenge!

You can choose your companion easily enough, but I do have suggestions for reading and listening. For summer novel reading, I recommend  Pat Conroy's Beach Music (1995). No writer captures the Southern coast quite as vividly as Conroy.  Blend that with his intense and often dark themes and you'll have a fine week's reading. And your music? Of course it's Beach Music, that R&B, cross-racial sound celebrated by white kids on the Carolina coast since the middle of the last century. If you experienced it as I did a generation ago on 

Tybee Island, Georgia. My home from 1978-88

Georgia's sea islands, the beat, tempo, and shag dancing under the stars soon became character traits. I'm pleased to report that the beach and shag sound is now moving into its third generation of popularity in the Carolinas, coastal Maryland and Virginia, and southeast Georgia. There are some great classics in this genre, but the number of new bands is a healthy sign of a long and happy future. If you don't know the sound or simply want to enjoy some happy sounds, here's a taste of music from the beach:


Tapped your foot much? 

We hope Arthur has an uneventful cruise up the Southeast coast and doesn't interfere with your Fourth of July weekend at the beach.

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