Rest Area

I’m back in Cape Cod this weekend, and as always it is restorative to be here. The effect is rather like pulling off at a scenic overlook during a long motor journey to stretch the legs, breathe deeply, and take one’s eyes off the road.

Living and working, as I do, in New York City, is to spend each day in a hyperkinetic environment of entirely human manufacture, wrought at an exclusively human scale. But here in Wellfleet, on this tiny spit of land flung out into the restless Atlantic, one finds oneself in the presence of physical immensities that offer the tightly clenched spirit room to unfurl. To step outside, as I did last night, to stand in silence under a moonlit sky, pine-framed and ablaze with stars, and then to stroll this afternoon along a deserted beach beside the limitless ocean — a scene entirely devoid, in chill November, of even the slightest trace of Man’s teeming presence — is to enjoy a trans-physical unconfinement, a Lebensraum of the soul, that many denizens of the congested antheaps we call cities no longer realize we require for our normal development.


  1. Good writing, Malcolm. Ein Lebensraum der Seele . . . I’ll remember that. ‘Lebensraum’ like ‘Gauleiter’ does, however, have a bit of a negative connotation.

    Posted November 13, 2006 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks; I thought you might comment on this one. I did indeed dither a bit about whether to use that expression. Perhaps I was wrong to do so, but I liked the way it sounded, and I hope that readers will forgive me.

    Posted November 14, 2006 at 1:05 am | Permalink

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