Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sea-Shore

"The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground,
a most advantageous point from which to contemplate this world.
It is even a trivial place. The waves forever rolling to the land
are too far-travelled and untamable to be familiar.
Creeping along the endless beach amid the sun-squall and the foam,
it occurs to us that we, too, are the product of sea-slime.."
-Henry David Thoreau

While I would like to record what my whole week at the cape was like, I think I will just share a moment that defined my whole week. Our training facilitators let us off two hours early one afternoon during the training week to go explore the area. While I could not have asked for better weather for most of the week, the only rainy day happened on our "break" day. Additionally, I forgot to charge the batteries to the camera I had brought along. Of course. Storms AND no camera. Brilliant.

I traveled with two from Pipestone National Monument (doncha know). We started as quality American tourists- consumers devouring the gift shops that stretched along Provincetown (technically in search of a sweatshirt, but we happened to find some other little trinkets along the way, too). We had hoped the weather would clear up enough to make it to the beach, but there was no break in sight. We drove to the beach as the sun sunk into the horizon. As we sat in the car, somebody pulled out his phone (the smart kind) and said that if we waited a few minutes, the radar showed a break in the approaching clouds. Then he piped in, "but I bet there is a killer rainbow out there right now." That was all this itchy body needed to hear. I opened my door, braved the rain, and bolted over the dunes onto the beach.

From one side the sea breeze slammed the rain drops onto me while the sun smiled from the other direction. Arching from the ocean, over the beach and life-saving station, beyond the grassy mounds beamed the brightest rainbow I have ever seen. Vistas that beautiful can't even be found on a postcard. The waves crashing, the seagulls diving, and the sunlight dancing on the tall blades of beach grass breathed life into my picture-perfect view. The sight amazed me enough that I didn't realize how the rain and cold started seeping into my core; at one point I couldn't feel my fingers, but I didn't care. The expanse of the world lay in front of me, why would I leave?

The sea begs mystery; I found myself caught in my historian shoes, pondering the many lives that had seen this same view. Beach-goers, coasties, early settlers, natives, even pirates. For a minute, the mystical world of the sea captivated me; I would have believed that mermaids played along that very same beach if you told me so.

Alas, dinner reservations demanded that we return to town. But I have stored those few moments I spent on that beach in my "Life Does Not Get Better Than This" mental folder. A. MAZ. ZING.

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