Still more photos from an oddly not sad day, but it easily could have been. I’m approaching the five year mark of widowhood and almost nothing about my life is the same these days. I have turned my life totally upside-down. Not something I planned to do, just a need that overtook me as I took the days one at a time. Life is good.
This is the photo, which I knew I’d seen recently. I didn’t remember that it was the physical photo that I’d found, and since I’m not home I forgot that I combined it with a favorite, if irreverent, photo of me. Charley looking so young, it brought back memories.
And Heather, also in P-town, a rare mother daughter trip in the aftermath of Charley’s death, followed by my mother’s death six days later.I loved seeing the extra footprints in the sand, still do.
The place…My daughter and I were teary-eyed when we visited together almost 5 years ago. Emotions were still raw that day. It wasn’t as emotional yesterday. I was glad to be there, glad to see the sky trying to cooperate, just glad in general.
And of course there are many more pictures. I paid $20 to park on the Provincetown wharf. I came here over the winter also and parked nearly in the same place for free, so if you average it out it’s not so bad. It wasn’t so colorful last time I was here, but I knew I’d trade the winter grays for the hustle and bustle of summer on Cape Cod.
He looks so young in the picture. So young that she remembers how she felt about him when they met. She hadn’t seen the picture in a long time, and the rush of feelings it produced surprised her. Those were good years. And since she was back ‘home’, back in New England, she wanted to sit in that same restaurant, be in the same place where they once were happy. Just once more. And she wanted it to be today, but she had awoken to rain on the roof. Rain that sounded like it was going to stick around, even though the weather report said mostly sunny for the day. She told herself that it would stop, the clouds would break up. Drive in the rain she thought, then the sun will come out when you get there. The urge to go proved too much and she set out east, to the tip of Cape Cod.
In case she couldn’t take pictures she stopped for the orange flowers that she was seeing everywhere on Cape Cod. She made a mental note to do a day of all the flowers on the Cape. Beautiful flowers spilling over fences and stone walls, but she’d do that another day. Today she was on a mission.
Along the way she turned at a sign for Fort Hill, thinking she might get pictures. The road climbed the hill, but there was a parking lot handy and she pulled in. The rain had stopped and she was about to walk down a trail towards the ocean but a sign stopped her. It said, “Deer tick habitat,” and she hesitated. Another hiking couple arrived, and the husband insisted that if you take a head to toe shower, and he waved his arms to illustrate what he meant, you won’t have a tick problem. He knew because he had had Lyme disease four times, he said. Not feeling reassured she drove the car up to the top of the hill and found a parking lot with a view. And was encouraged by the sky.
It did seem that the clouds were breaking up, but once she continued her drive it began to rain in earnest. Still she continued…
Route 6A on Cape Cod is a Sunday drive sort of road. It meanders, and if you are in a hurry it’s probably not your road of choice. And when your GPS in your phone stops talking with the GPS in the car it’s not such a bad road to be on either. Eventually you’ll see something familiar and find your way again.
I was running errands and wanting to take some pictures, but the reality of the Cape in summer is that you have to pay for parking wherever you go during the day. Getting out early for the sunrise or after 5 for the sunset is fine, no fees for a quick stop. But when I saw a sign for Sandy Neck Beach I took the turn, even though it was approaching noon. The fee for the day was $20, but at the little gatehouse I explained that I just wanted to take some pictures, so the gal let me park next to her car and said that she had no problem if I wanted to walk in on the trail. I thought that sounded like a great idea, and I headed down the path with dunes to my left and marshes to my right.It was a half mile trail, according to the sign, and I anticipated being on the beach in no time flat. The trail was covered in beach rocks, always so silky smooth but big enough to make walking a bit uncomfortable. At least for a person in flip-flops. Yes, my choice of footwear was an issue yet again. And then the rocks were done and the trail was easy, until I came to the sand. Now I was sinking into soft sand and I decided the rocks weren’t that bad, and with every twist of the trail I expected to see the ocean. But all I saw was more sandy trail, and the sand was burning hot. That’s when it dawned on me that I probably should have thought this through more. I hadn’t thought of that beach ritual of a short dash through the hot sand to get to the water, it had been a long time since I’d been to the beach. And now I was faced with nothing but a trail of hot sand and the promise of the ocean around the next bend. I stepped on the clumps of grass next to the path when they were there, and stopped in the shade of a shrub when I could, but that hot sand was all I saw. The ocean could be just ahead, I thought, and I knew that turning around meant more burning sand. And then a guy came up behind me carrying his dog. I had just taken the left fork in the path and asked if the beach was ahead, and he said yes. He got to the top of an incline and put the dog down, telling him, “Almost there, buddy.” I got to that incline and saw nothing but more trail, and more sand. I wondered if I was really doing damage to the skin on the bottoms of my feet, and was quite mad at myself by the time I did see the ocean. I don’t know which was the more welcome sight, the ocean or the port-a-potties right there as the trail met the beach.The RVs on the beach were a surprise, and you can barely see the little truck in the center. It was rigged with an awning, and I asked the very nice mother and son if I could stop in their shade for a second. Maybe I looked worse than I actually felt, aside from my feet, because they leaped into action and gave me a water bottle and wanted me to sit, but I was dying to put my feet in the water. My plan was to walk up the beach to where I could access the parking lot and walk back on the pavement, and they pointed out the flag on the concession stand and said to head there.I’m glad that I did take a couple of pictures because I hadn’t walked far at all when the young man caught up with me and told me that he had flagged down a natural resources truck and they were stopping to pick me up. Of course part of me wanted to object, I didn’t need help, I thought, but a ride all the way back to the car was just too tempting. So I swallowed my pride and accepted the ride. As hot as that sand was it didn’t do actual damage, I’m happy to say. But my pride at blundering into that situation, that has taken a bit of a beating. My faith in the people you meet along the way is still in tact though…
Have I only been here a week today? It seems longer. But on the other hand I haven’t been ‘out for pictures’ yet. It’s the fact that we had the 4th, and the influx of people to make getting around an issue. That I am one of those people doesn’t keep me from resenting my fellow invaders who are making life more complicated here on the Cape. And camping itself is a distraction. I’m not sure I should be congratulating myself over how much I am enjoying living in this little pop up, or ‘pup’ as they are called on the online group I found on Facebook. Not when I can head into my sister’s house to do laundry or cook a meal. It’s the best of all worlds at this moment. I will just enjoy it. But I did manage a trip to Sunset Hill last night. I know I’ve been there before but it wasn’t sunset and I had vowed to go back. I’m glad I did.
Whenever I think of Plymouth, MA I remember the view from a favorite waterfront restaurant of my mother’s. There were rock jetties, and boats bobbing in the water, and families walking along the shoreline. A totally picturesque scene, very photogenic, so I have wanted to head to Plymouth harbor every time I’ve been ‘up north’, and I finally made it. Sunday’s excursion was prompted by the realization that if I had any hope of getting off the Cape on the Sunday after the 4th of July I had better get up and go early. And with all the online chatter among the locals about traffic and how you’d better save your errands for the next day, it seemed like a good idea. Did I know that it would be low tide early in the morning? No, but these are details I never check out ahead of time. It’s fly by the seat of your pants for me. So there was no bobbing of boats. And there was a chilly breeze after extremely hot temperatures the day before. When I saw a parking spot near the marinaI decided it was my lucky day, low tide or not, it was a nice trip. And when I returned to the Cape I saw the endless line of traffic heading off the Cape while I sailed along in no traffic at all. I pretty much got what I wished for.