Beats Working

Today was, like yesterday, a day to set aside introspection, brooding and contemplation; a day to live life rather than examine it.

It began early, by my standards at least, with a jaunt to Wellfleet Harbor’s Indian Neck Beach at 8:15 a.m. to pit, once again, man against oyster. I prevailed, of course — although no man is a match for an oyster physically, I have learned to outwit them — and I brought home several dozen, shown below.

Next it was off to the northern tip of the Cape, just a few miles away, for a bracing two-hour hike through the Province Lands. This remarkable landscape consists entirely of enormous sand dunes that have been deposited, over the ten thousand years since the Cape was left behind by the retreating ice sheets, by the action of wind and sea upon the marine escarpments just to the south. One ascends from a small parking area on Route Six by way of a steep sandy trail through the woods, and emerges quite abruptly upon several square miles of undulating upland, with towering dunes that shelter wind-stunted groves of pitch pine, scrub oak, heather and mosses in their scooped valleys. It is a dramatically beautiful place, almost Saharan in its barer stretches, and on a clear day, under the famous Cape light, the colors of sand and sky and grass, of sea and moss and heather, combine with sublime effect. I’ve never seen anyplace else quite like it, and many visitors to the Outer Cape have no idea it’s even there. I’m not about to tell them.

It’s tough going on the dunes — they are high and steep, and hiking in loose sand can be hard work. After a couple of hours of heavy slogging in the warm sun we were in need of refreshment, so we moseyed down to the town of Chatham, at the “elbow” of the Cape, where, after a peasant stroll through town, we planted ourselves at a local tavern for victuals and libations, and watched the Kentucky Derby on the television. (It was won by some horse or other, ridden by a slender fellow in a loud shirt.)

On the way back up to Wellfleet we stopped at Rock Harbor, near the town of Orleans, to glimpse the sun setting over Cape Cod Bay. There was scarcely a breeze, and the tranquil sea seemed as smooth as glass. See below.

But after such a day, in which I have not only subdued dozens of enraged molluscs, but have also traversed some of the harshest landscape in all of Barnstable County, I’m afraid I lack the stamina, semicentenarian that I am, to spend further hours tonight grappling with the persistent philosophical and cultural questions that we usually wrangle here at waka waka waka. Do forgive me; things should get back to normal soon.

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