Sunday, January 24, 2010
Winter in a summer resort
There's no doubt that the summer is fun here on Cape Cod. Lots of our friends sail, we swim in the evenings after work and we spend a fair amount of time paddling our kayaks on the shallow bays here and you can drink a beer outside under an umbrella. And I sell way more pots in the summer than I sell now.
But between May and October we do share our peninsula with a lot of visiting folks from around the country, and they take up space on the beaches and in the coffee shops and grocery stores and restaurants. Not so in January, when we have this lovely place more or less to ourselves.
That was the situation yesterday morning, when I parked at the end of a short street in the next-door town of Bourne and walked out on a sandy trail that winds around Squeteague Harbor and to the beach on Buzzards Bay. Squeteague is a tiny inlet off the bay, reached by water through a brief and winding channel. It's a sheltered body, a good place to moor the boat when heavy winds blow. We often paddle down the channel on still summer evenings and drift among the catboats at their moorings. At the right time of the summer, phosphorescent jellyfish light up after dark when disturbed by a kayak paddle.
Yesterday, though, the little harbor was frozen and a single old wooden two-master sat frozen in the ice. I parked my truck (the only vehicle at the head of the trail) and walked along the harbor to the west, past golden and beaten-down beach grass, crossing a slim plank bridge that crosses the daily flow of water out of a tiny tidal pond. (The pictures above were taken last winter, before the ice came in.) I turned right toward Scraggy Neck, a private enclave of expensive houses connected by a sandy spit and a road to the mainland.
I walked along the beach for maybe a mile, clambering up over the high boulders of small breakwaters that define private beaches, kicking through drifts of slipper shells and clam and scallop shells. It was low tide and the sandy beach was packed down and good for walking. It was a coold day, but not bitingly cold, and the sun was bright. No clouds in the sky. I never saw another person on this stretch of sand that in summer is discouragingly private. This time of year, this beach is good for contemplative solitary walking, dog exercise or as a place to talk about serious and not-so-serious things with a friend or mate.
About a quarter of the way around the almost-island of Scraggy Neck, I turned right and trespassed across the grounds of a shuttered summer house, caught the road at the end of the driveway and walked back through the upscale neighborhood, across the spit of road to the mainland and back to my truck.
I headed home from there to the studio, to make large serving bowls, which are drying as I write this.