Cape Cod Sunday Slowing Down


Sunday morning. Overcast but no rain yet.  Arey’s Pond is quiet.  It is a sheet of glass.  No activity in or from the boatyard. Even the feeder is quiet (but needs filling).  We’ve had a small flock of Blue Jays, cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees, goldfinch, titmice, and nuthatch; Downy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers feeding the past few days. Chipmunks scurry beneath the feeder; and I’ve seen one gray squirrel.   Osprey have flown overhead; maybe a marsh hawk.   A swan makes its home across the water; sharing space with at least one seal.  It’s not hard to find solitude and peace here.

I am reading “The Salt House: a summer on the dunes of Cape Cod” by Cynthia Huntington.  She writes, “I wished quickly for what I always wish: to be given another summer after this one, to be able to come here all our lives, to keep making this our home.”  Cynthia (a writer) and her husband Bert (a sculptor) were fortunate.  Hazel Hawthorne Werner, as part of a small artistic group,  had spent her summers in the dunes near Race Point Proviencerown from the 20’s into the 1060s.  Her group included Agnes and Eugene O’Neill who lived in beach shacks that had been built around the Peaked Hills Life Saving Station.  Hazel now was in her 80s, would Cynthia and Bert like to live in her shack, Euphoria?  “We said yes without taking a breath, ” Cynthia wrote.


“8 Peck’s Way” on Arey’s Pond or “Rattlesnake Bank” on Nantucket where we stayed  for over 10 years aren’t quite as isolated as the Cape dune beach shacks, but the Peaked Hill shacks are now owned by the National Seashore and a lottery determines who can reside there for a period of time. We need a different address but I should explore the lottery.

Arey’s Lane is a dirt road off of route 28.  “8 Peck’s Way” is just beyond the Arey’s  boat yard (beautiful custom boats, check out their website).  Driving to and from, both Rob and Diane have taken to coming in from the other direction off  Monument Road which leads to a maze of private dirt roads between Pilgrim Lake and the Namequoit River.  It’s dusty single lanes and its not unusual that cars need to pull aside for others to pass.  One party pulls aside, and as the cars pass, both drivers wave.  Time for slow and neighbors.  I love the posted sign on Arey’s’s:  “drive wicked slow, 15 mph.”  IAnnoyed at first, I eventually decided that this approach contributed to my-our sense of seclusion — we are hidden in the woods.

Although I like the idea of serendipity and spontaneous activity. Some planning is necessary when 6 people of different ages are traveling/vacationing together.  Can we satisfy all; can we come up with a mix of the planned and unplanned?  This morning, Jenny called a family meeting.  There are so many option of what we can do in the coming week.  And we all have our likes and dislikes.  Some activities are weather related.  Some get sold out if you don’t get advance tickets.

Most years we take a boat trip and we came to a decision.  Mass Audubon 2 hour Thursday explore (buckets and nets on a sand bar or island) out of Hyannis.  Another decision: lobster dinner tentatively scheduled for Tuesday; in the morning we have a National Seashore ranger led nature explore and there is an evening lecture on whales.

But not everything is agreed on and planned.  Diane wants to try some clamming and she bought an official pail. But it involves open areas, tides, and a day permit.  All vary from town to town.  More research is needed for a commitment.  “Grease” would be fun to see but tickets we placed tickets  on hold.  How would it impact beach time and dinner?  Today we may walk at the National Seashore, Skacket Beach at low tide around 4, Rob and Eli going to a baseball game, probably pizza for dinner.

Shore life, in general,  tends to be slow.  Most serious boaters (I’m not talking speedboats and jet skis) move slow.  Their rhythms follow winds and tides.  Right now in front of me on the pond is a sailboat coming in to dock, they cut the engine and slowly drift-motor to a mooring. Another boater is rowing  (slowly) to dock.  Canoeing, kayaking and rowing usually follow a peaceful rhythm. There may be times when energy and fast motion are desired or needed but it’s not a constant commute on an Interstate highway.


Activity on the beach also tends to go slow.  Some just sit in the sun, or hide under an umbrella, nap, read; others walk along the shore stopping to watch sanderlings, gulls and terns.  There are beachcombers collecting shells or whatever else may wash up their way.  A few swim and there are a more active groups of surfers (usually young).  But for the most part the beach, sand, and sun contribute to a quiet slow, relaxed time.

Most fishing tends to be a quiet peaceful activity, frequently solitary, a waiting communion between fish and fisherman. Think “Old Man in the Sea.”  I also see images of individuals casting long, staring out to sea. Casting and waiting.  In late afternoon, sipping from a can of beer.  Or there in the row boat — one, no two, it’s a father and son — poles dipping into the water.  Waiting, reflecting, relaxing.  Even fishing from a boat in bay or ocean can involve slow, quiet time punctuated with the back and forth pull of a catch.  The bigger the fish; the more strain and fight.  Reeling in requires a measured, calculated pace.

This evening I’m watching the sun set over Arey’s.  According to plan, Rob and Eli are off to an Orleans Firebirds game.  Hundreds turn out to watch college players representing different towns.  It’s been happening 100 years!  Baseball isn’t your fastest sport.  There is some running but a lot of watching and waiting. A perfect Cape Cod sport.   I enjoyed my time at a game a few nights back; wouldn’t even have considered watching a game in Yardley.  Diane, Viv and Jenny have just returned from several hours at Skaket Beach — low tide.  Viv netting crabs, alive and dead; walking slowly through the sand and low water.  Jen meets and talks to a oyster farmer. They clean up, no rush.

Tonight we’ll have take-out pizza for dinner. Cooking takes time and planning.  And tonight we all move “wicked slow.”




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