Here we are in the final days of summer, and I’ve been doing my best to eek out every last blissful moment out on Cape Cod.
Every time I come here, I am amazed that such a national treasure exists in such close proximity to my home (just under 3 hours from my house to the “Outer Cape”). And this is really the perfect time to go: while the weather is still warm, but after the crowds are gone. It’s just right for taking in the long, rolling waves, the endless ivory beaches, the tangy brine of the marshes, and the soft sweep of the dunes.
Today has been the ideal beach day – sunny, but not overly hot, with a cool breeze. The water is icy cold, but I brought my wetsuit, so that makes it much more tolerable. I just went in for a long dip, bobbing on the surface of the water like a seal in my slick, black neoprene suit.
I’m at Lecount Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. It’s impossible for me to come to this beach without reminiscing about “the best summer ever”, which in my book, was back in 2003 when I had a summer internship doing field work at Cape Cod National Seashore. I mainly worked collecting data on salt marsh vegetation. My field partner and I became fast friends as we bonded over countless hours out in the grasses and tidal channels. Sometimes we would laugh ourselves silly when we would get our waders stuck in the mud, or making up ridiculous songs or games when things got too monotonous. Evenings were spent playing volleyball in the sand, swimming in kettle ponds, or having bonfires on the beach with the other staff. It was a blast, and really the only job I’ve had that I absolutely loved. Looking back, I can see that it had as much to do with the sense of camaraderie we shared, as much as the work and environment itself.
Saying that makes me sad that I’ve never found another job that has given me such joy or satisfaction, but that’s not to say that my life is any less wonderful. In many ways, I feel like that summer set the stage for some of the greatest adventures of my life. And I have a hunch that there are many more to come.
I can’t help but notice how much the beach has changed over the years due to erosion. Chunks of the dunes have been whittled away by the wind and water, and houses at the edge of cliffs are perched even more precariously than before.
There is an urge to fight nature and to stop the clock. I can see it in this landscape, and I can feel it in myself as the days press ahead from summer to fall, as the years press ahead from early adulthood toward (dare I say?) middle age.
Alas, things change. We change. Life goes on. That’s just nature’s way.
I’ve been staying with a friend and over breakfast I laughed about my old-fashioned ways and said, “I’m old at heart.” He replied, “Yes, but you’re fun at heart.” I like that.
Maybe it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, or whether or not you have your dream job. It’s okay for things to change, because really, there’s no other way. Perhaps what’s really important is that the essence of who we are continues to shine, just as the sun will continue to rise and shine on this ever-changing landscape.