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Solace on Cape Cod . . .doesn’t matter which side!

Jennie Sparrow | 11/9/2020

The following post was written by guest blogger Elizabeth Ricketson about her recent, last-minute trip to Cape Cod. She discovered what many of us already know — no matter what the season, a visit the Cape will restore your soul. You can find more of Elizabeth’s posts here and on Instagram.

A dusting was forecast for Friday, the day before Halloween 2020. Snow fell steadily, breaking an October snowfall record in Boston, Massachusetts. Pine trees bending under the weight. No art commission delivery as planned but rescheduled for a future date. 2020 has certainly taught us how to embrace the exception to the rule. We certainly do a lot of reshuffling and rescheduling these days. We have become masterful at the art of “just in case” and firm believers in Murphy’s Law.

A Halloween day visit to Cape Cod was decided. Early Saturday morning found me scraping ice and snow from my car sans winter gloves as I never thought to bring them for this fall visit. As the inches of snow were removed from my SUV, so was a layer of newly fallen autumn leaves. An abstract painting of leaf design remained on the hood of my car outlined by the sparkle of ice. Beautiful if my ungloved hands weren’t so cold.

Fall sunset, Dennis

The day’s adventure never crossed a state line. No self-quarantining required. Just a number of miles east of Boston but a world away. A beautiful, cold, crisp New England day. The sun strong, warming the car’s passengers, just we two and our dog Cub. We soon became oblivious to the ice that was underfoot just moments ago.

A Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce type of day was before us. Crisp white boats dotting and moving through the canal with grace and ease. Looking familiar. Appropriate for this time of year. Normal. Clinging to that thought and feeling while looking left and right over the bridge. Normalcy feels wonderful even if it only lasted for the brief drive over the Sagamore Bridge. We enter into another world. Our shoulders drop just a bit and our facial expressions soften. Conversation is limited. We choose to enjoy singing to the radio as some of our favorite songs are played. We harmonize in our hearts only. Our many worries are left on the other side of the bridge as we embrace our Cape Cod respite for the next number of hours. We briefly escape but escape we do.

The Cape is often a little warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, so “they” say. Thoughts of Friday’s snow melt away quickly. A leaf-covered earth borders Rte. 6 with only random hints of snow as we make our way up or down the Cape. Mid Cape bound. Autumn quiet. No sense of the pending contentious election or the raging pandemic with the exception of mask wearing. Not everything can remain on the other side of the bridge. Responsibility closely follows us always.

Fall days on Cape Cod Bay

The ocean calm on the bay side and brilliant cobalt blue sky overhead. The small parking lot at Corporation Beach is nearly full. People sitting in their cars looking out over the magnificent ocean. A few people walking on the beach and a Labradoodle playing catch with its owner. Couldn’t wait to breathe in the ocean air. I pop out of the car before my husband shifts the gear into park. A constant state of nausea persists these days but today I blame it on car sickness.

Anxious to capture the beauty of the Atlantic, the rocks and even the birds I grab my phone before my left leg has a chance to leave the vehicle. Documenting the beauty of this part of the Atlantic coastline feels urgent in 2020, like it may be gone if I leave it to chance one more second. Looking out as far as my vision allows with a view that appears infinite and the distant horizon within my reach. No summer haze to contend with, just clear and beautiful. October on Cape Cod.

Corporation Beach, Dennis © Elizabeth Ricketson

My daughter and I have already started dreaming, plotting and planning our 2021 summer escape. We exchange numerous rental possibilities and chat about the many delightful options in the various locations. I adore summer on the Cape, but autumn just might be my favorite in some respects. Fond memories of September rentals on the Vineyard when our children were small with perfect temps to spend long hours on the beach. A quieter pace with an opportunity to really study the natural beauty uninterrupted by the many summer visitors. Heading into November, one can feel the elements of nature shifting. Embracing this fleeting moment as I stand on the ocean’s edge letting the waves wash away the weight of my thoughts. I find some solace.

A semblance of summer remains with the availability of local ice cream. We take advantage of this opportunity just one more time in 2020, no matter how cool the air feels before we head west.