Hello from the most beautiful place on earth. No many how many times I come here or how hectic the first few days can be, the area takes a hold of me and eventually I find the silence and the air that enables me to breathe.
I've been swimming at the lake where the older two children had learned to swim. I was the older woman by herself with just a chair, a towel, and a book. There actually was at least 4 of us, all with our sunglasses on and heads down reading, either in the shade, the sun, or right in the water in our sand chairs, so did not stick out amidst the crying babies and sunburned dads.
First, though, I went swimming. Turns out even adults remember things as bigger than they are. Ot could be that the water table is very low, because when I swam out to the ropes, I found that I could have just waded because the water was barely up to my waist. I ignored the signs to stay in the ropeds and braved the duckweed and swam into the middle of the lake, where there was at least some cold currents instead of the hot water bath that was the bathing area. I swam back in pretty quickly, though, when I heard talk of of snapping turtles and watched a fisherman casting his line in close proximity to where I was swimming. Since he was legal and I was not, I yielded my spot and waded back in.
Right now I am watching the local cable station which is playing a presentatin given by a biologist who studies great white sharks. As he said, abundance of seals = abundance of predators = possible human attacks. He has amazing footage of a great white attacking a dead whale carcass, feeding off of it like Fred Flintstone at an all you can eat blubber buffet. Hence, my lake swim.
That really wasn't the reason for me to go to the little swimming hole favored by families with toddlers and preschoolers. It was so , so hot Saturday and I am just not an ocean swimmer anymore. It has nothing to do with sharks and everything to do with waves. I want to soak up to my neck, not be pummeled and pretend to be having fun while I wait for the world to stop spinning and pop up coughing up an ocean.
I'm actually more worried about these wild turkeys than about sharks. They were very cute in the spring when several of the family caught sight of them on walks by the kettle pond around the corner. I didn't see them but could hear them gobbling in the woods and I was careful not to walk the dogs to close to the area. They are no longer hiding in the underbrush because, boy, how they've grown! They favor a yard across from the pond and I'm just grateful they turned their beaks up at ours. You can be sure that I will not be walking the dogs anywhere near the kettle pond until after Thanksgiving. Stuffing anyone?
No swimming today, but a breezy, sweet walk around Kent's Point with Bella Sera, who is vacationing with me. As humid as it was you'd think she'd make a beeline for the water. But we were blessed wtih the only two labradors in the world we eschew water. Oh, they'll go up to their knees and if circumstances are right, even get their bellies wet. But never higher than that and never, never, over their heads. They. Do. Not. Swim.
The first summer we had them, we researched all the local areas for a dog beach. This was before we realized that all of the town landings and some conservation areas allow dogs and there are an infinite number of places to walk the dogs along the shore where they can run in and out of the water at will. Back then, we were excited to find a bay beach that allowed dogs at certain hours.
Have you ever actually been at a dog beach - or rather, been in the water with a herd of people and dogs? It's not as fun as it sounds and you have to be careful to stay out of the path of the more rambunctious dogs and owners. The day we went, Micalangela and I were up to our waists trying to entice the dogs in. The dog area was past a bank of eel grass and right past a drop off. It was slippery and I was more worried about falling and cracking my head when some crazed German Shepherd decided to hurl itself off the ledge into me than getting the dogs to love the idea of their feet leaving the ground.
Bella Sera was doing her mesmerized by the light kookiness and Cucciolo was more interested in the hamburgers being grilled on a hibachi on the sand. Who comes to a dog beach with a hibachi, places it on the sand, and proceeds to cook burgers like they were in Margaritaville? Keeping Cucciolo away from what was to him a very convenient hamburger feeding station was a stressing experience. I say no more.
Eventually we put their leashes on, dragged coaxed them into the water, basically pushed them off the ledge and they both swam about 5 seconds in a circle and ran back on shore. That was it for the dog beach.
Now we just take them for walks along the landings and when it's hot enough they walk in and out at will, never going in higher than their knees, but enjoying it nonetheless.
Bella Sera wanted no part of the water today, despite her panting in the heat. Without her son to make her brave she just stood there and stared at the water. A young couple was trying to entice their 5-month old puppy, Barclay, into the water and he was having no part of it, either. Suddenly Bella Sera decided to stroll in and Barclay followed and soon the puppy was up to his ears in water. Bella Sera? Strolled out, her work there done. Once a mother, always a mother. The young couple were so excited that they asked me to take a photo of their dog and text it to them and I was glad to oblige. I may have a new business - Bella Serra makes a good puppy wrangler, having had two litters of at least a dozen each. Can you imagine?
It was good to be back at the house and see it no worse for wear after being rented for four weeks by three different families. We have a little guest book for the renters and love to read what they tell us about their vacation. This time, however, we were left the most adorable note on our dry erase board by a little guest.
In case you can't decipher it, it says:
Thank you for letting us stay here and for the gift baskets. We used the marshmallows. frome: Olivia Age 10.
You are welcome, Olivia, and we hope you come back next year! That note left me feeling so good about the cottage and giving people a taste of the wonderful, relaxing time you can have here.
My older sister is staying a few minutes away with our uncle, aunt, and their grown children. It's a big house and when they all arrive, they will be 8 adults and 5 children. Whew. After I watched one cousin and her husband arrive with a 18 month old and an excited five year old, and a car full of suitcases and baby stuff, I wasn't unhappy to go back to my little quiet house. It brought back a lot of memories of our trips when the kids were little. I will say that right now, life is a lot more relaxing!
On the way home, I had to go visit the ocean because I hadn't been there yet. I got to the beach just as dusk fell and wasn't surprised to see the parking lot with quite a lot of cars. It had been such a hot day that many people were just leaving, dragging chairs and overtired children along. When I got to the beach, I saw what looked like torches down the beach and I took a walk to see what was going on. Beach fires aren't allowed on the town beach, but there was a party of people who had big sparklers. A little knot of guys was trying to light a floating lantern. Have you seen those? Google Montauk Floating Lanterns and you'll see gorgeous imagery of these paper lanterns floating up like bouyant moons in the night sky.
I bought a bunch last year. My idea was to try them out on the beach at one summer night and then keep the rest for the night of the rehearsal dinner the following spring. The evening of our bonfire at the National Seashore was blustery. The boys stood in a knot around the lantern for about a half hour trying to get it lit. When it finally lit and the hot air inflated the lantern, we were I was afraid to let it go due to the strong winds. But boys will be boys and they let go and the lantern went crashing down the sand like a kamikaze plane on fire. It was not an experience I would like to relive. I say no more.
This was the best I could do for a photo last night. These guys seem to have a better chance as the wind was lighter. It took them just as long to light it, which was good for me because it took me all that time to walk up the beach. But the lantern just wouldn't inflate and when they tried to let it go, the walls collapsed and it burst into flames. Maybe Montauk has better atmospheric conditions than the Cape for getting these suckers to fly, though I'm still dreaming about seeing a skyful.
No matter. It was just lovely to be on the beach in the evening with the wind blowing away the mosquitos and the no see ums. It really felt like summer vacation, then. That is the thing I have to remember when we come to the Cottage. It's too easy to get caught up in regular living - clean, chores, errands, fix stuff, mow, grocery shop - enough! So each day I'm getting to the beach after dinner regardless of the weather and watching the sunset or the fog roll in. Tonight, I did some grocery shopping then drove up to a beautiful look out point over the bay behind the outer beach.
It was quiet and cool and I read the local paper cover to cover. It was good to breathe in the salty, fresh air and watch people arrive to have their picture taken against the background of the salt marsh. I'm having a bit of a hard time calming down after a hard work week and I fear that I need to cut back on the Nespresso. But with dogs and water, beach and sparklers, mornings writing at the coffee shop, and the quiet nights, I'll be in Cape mode soon.
Wish I could bring you all here in my pocket. Someday I'll open my big creativity camp here and you'll all come for a stay. Till then, I'll bring you as many moments of the Cape as I can as I never take a day of it for granted.