in this very present moment

6.4.20 ~ beach rose
Napatree Point Conservation Area, Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Along the shoreline, about 19 miles east of us, the waters of Fishers Island Sound give way to the the bigger waves of Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. When leaving Connecticut and arriving in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, the terrain and the beaches feel a lot more like Cape Cod to me. The irresistable desire to hear those waves crashing led me to drag Tim to Napatree Point Thursday morning and he was a good sport about a hike over the dunes.

Napatree Point is a slender, 1.5 mile long peninsula in Block Island Sound. To the north of the peninsula is Little Narragansett Bay, a small estuary into which the Pawcatuck River empties. The small bay is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.
~ Wikipedia

dunes

First we walked along the bay side, but not all the way to the end of the peninsula. The water was calm and there were lots of birds busy fishing and flying, but only one herring gull. He was quite handsome and paid no attention to us.

What is it with me and gulls? I won’t say how many pictures I wound up taking of this one. 🙂 But the sound of the waves on the ocean side was beckoning…

Time to take a shortcut over the dune. We made it across without encountering someone coming the other way. With COVID-19 ever on our minds we knew it would have to be a one-way-at-a-time bridge.

The waves were relatively calm, but bigger than the ones at our beach, and the sound of them crashing was soothing to me.

Atlantic Ocean!

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(The Secret of the Sea)

Watch Hill Lighthouse on the point in the distance

There was a family with two children playing there on the beach. When we got closer the parents called the little ones back to their blanket and we hugged the water, putting as much distance between us as possible. We didn’t linger so the kids could quickly get back to their playing by the water. Life in the time of coronavirus.

I’ve been wrestling with several other concerns, though. Perhaps it’s stress, but my migraines have come back and have become very frequent, waking me up almost every night. Fortunately I have a stash of meds but I’m starting to worry I will blow through it before my next refill is due.

And then there is what I thought were spider bites I woke up with last Saturday morning. Mostly on my belly, a few on my face, and a couple of days later, a spot on my ankle. By the middle of the week I suspected flea bites or chigger bites. But the itching and rash now feels exactly like poison ivy. Which means I’ve got another week or two of this misery to live through. Probably picked it up in the woods on one of our walks. I think I will confine our walks to the cemetery and dirt roads for now.

Seeing the open ocean, hearing the waves, smelling the salty air, picking up a shell to remember the morning, all of it gave me some breathing space. Even the incessant itching seemed to stop for a while.

time to climb over the dune again

Try to be happy in this very present moment; and put not off being so to a time to come: as though that time should be of another make from this, which is already come, and is ours.
~ Thomas Fuller
(A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient & Modern)

This morning I read that headaches are one of the possible side effects of hydrocortisone cream, which I’ve been using on the poison ivy. Itching, too. So I’m going to stop using it for a while and see what happens. This too, will pass.

Watch Hill Lighthouse
looking back across Napatree Point from the top of the dune

I was very sorry to leave but very grateful to have enjoyed our moments there. On our way out we managed to stay far enough away from a couple of people arriving and exchanged greetings from behind our masks. “It’s the new way,” one man observed, as we all did our do-si-dos along the paths.

Race Point Beach

10.10.15.0729
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

One evening on our Cape Cod trip we went to Race Point Beach in Provincetown to see the sunset. It felt so good to be outside in the salty air, walking on the sand.

10.10.15.0731
Tim at Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0743
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0744
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0761
after sunset at Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

I will never forget this trip to Cape Cod with my dearly loved husband of 40+ years. Until 2008 we used to come here all the time – summer vacations and weekend getaways. Sadly, Tim’s grandparents’ house in Provincetown was sold that year and my grandparents’ house in Dennis Port was sold in 2009. Our last trip, to bury my father’s ashes in October 2013, was all too brief.

10.10.15.0789
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

We did, however, go to Provincetown in May 2009 to celebrate our anniversary and stayed at a bed and breakfast called The Black Pearl. It’s no longer there, we discovered, the house now owned by someone else. We took a long walk on Beech Forest Trail. Six long years since that visit. The town and the seashore have changed. So have we. But we still found healing there, and peace. I think it will always be a place where we will free to be ourselves in times of transition. It will always feel like home.

10.10.15.0791
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth,
it can lie down like silk breathing
or toss havoc shoreward; it can give

gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth
like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can
sweet-talk entirely. As I can too,

and so, no doubt, can you, and you.

~ Mary Oliver
(A Thousand Mornings)

10.10.15.0803
Race Point Beach ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Province Lands

10.10.15.0646
Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

This is another of those strangely potent places. Everyone I know who has spent any time on the dune agrees that there’s, well, something there, though outwardly it is neither more nor less than an enormous arc of sand cutting across the sky.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

10.10.15.0653
Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Almost every time we go to Provincetown we go on one of Art’s Dune Tours to see the Province Lands sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore. In the past part of the tour took us down on the beach but we couldn’t do that this time due to severe beach erosion caused by storms the past couple of winters. So we had to be satisfied with exploring the dunes themselves. Unfortunately we weren’t able to book a sunset tour – those have been our favorites over the years.

10.10.15.0655
Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0661
Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0667
Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

If I die tomorrow, Provincetown is where I’d want my ashes scattered. Who knows why we fall in love, with places or people, with objects or ideas? Thirty centuries of literature haven’t begun to solve the mystery; nor have they in any way slaked our interest in it. Provincetown is a mysterious place, and those of us who love it tend to do so with a peculiar, inscrutable intensity.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

10.10.15.0670
Pilgrim Monument, in the distance, is 252 feet high ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0673
a little tourist from Switzerland ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.10.15.0674
words left on a shingle in the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Our guide kept showing us where the sands have been shifting in recent years, impressing on us the endless flow of nature. How strange that while present there, time seems to stand still, if only for a moment.

10.10.15.0682
afternoon sun over the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Sea Shell Motel

10.12.15.1111
before sunrise from our balcony ~ 10.12.15 ~ Dennis Port, Massachusetts

An incurable early bird, on the last morning of our little weekend getaway I found myself unable to sleep and so decided to get up and read and gaze out of the sliding glass doors of our room at the Sea Shell Motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. It was about 40 minutes before sunrise and there was an intense yellow orange glow on the horizon.

10.12.15.1116
walking over the dune ~ 10.12.15 ~ Dennis Port, Massachusetts

As sunrise approached I decided to bundle up in my coat and my new Norwegian wool hat with ear flaps and walk down to the windy beach to take some pictures and enjoy some early morning solitude. It was the best moment of the day.

10.12.15.1119
sunrise on the beach ~ 10.12.15 ~ Dennis Port, Massachusetts

Thoughts turned to beloved grandparents who lived in Dennis Port, just up the street. When I was little we stayed with them at their house but sometime in the late 1980s, when my own children were little, my grandmother’s health problems became such that staying in a motel nearby became necessary. There’s no way to count the times we have stayed at the Sea Shell in the past 30 years or so. Each room is unique and charming, well-worn but clean and comfortable. No frills, just a short wooden walkway over the dune to the beach, the sounds of waves breaking close by.

10.12.15.1123
the sun keeps rising ~ 10.12.15 ~ Dennis Port, Massachusetts

I wanted to come here for old times’ sake. So often on this recent trip nature would vividly illustrate the simple truth that nothing is solid in the boundless flow of time and place, there is nothing to grasp. It was here that my grandparents embraced me with abiding wisdom and persisting love. But now they are long gone, even though I feel their presence still. The waves break on the sand and disappear and yet are still there, like the voices of my small curious children. Cape Cod is slipping into the sea.

vegan ♥ paleo

4.6.12.1115
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

To look for a “healthy” diet can be as discouraging as a search for the “true” religion. I spent many years extricating myself from a belief system which had at one time seemed to have all the definitive answers my teenage self was yearning for. One would think I might have learned a lesson or two about words and ideas that sound too good to be true.

Some of my readers may remember a few passionate posts I wrote back in October of 2011, when after reading several convincing books by cardiologists I decided that Tim & I should become vegans to try to reverse his heart disease. In my mind it was a done deal, the final answer. But in the months following our change to a vegan diet, Tim wound up in the hospital twice, which left me feeling demoralized. It was as if eating plants was making things worse, not better.

4.6.12.1122
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

One day last fall, I happened to catch another cardiologist being interviewed on TV, and he was talking about the evils of gluten and wheat, and how consumption of grains leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And so began another round of research for me, more books, more websites, more theories to contemplate. To make a long story a bit shorter, we have switched to a paleo diet, or caveman diet. Wild game, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry. Lots of vegetables. Nuts and berries. Hunting and gathering. No wheat or grains. Keeping our fingers crossed.

4.6.12.1147
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

This time around I’m not looking at this change as The Answer carved in stone. It’s an Experiment to see if anything different will happen. I’m the daughter of a scientist after all. Maybe the food we choose to eat has nothing at all to do with heart disease, though somehow I still think it might. But cardiologists don’t seem to agree on the best diet for heart disease, so I won’t list all the authors of the books I consulted. Staying off of the bandwagon for the time being.

Last week we did have some encouraging news after Tim went in for a checkup. He lost some weight and his progress pleased his doctor for the first time since his original heart attack five years ago. Let’s hope we’re finally on the right track, although I am keeping myself carefully skeptical, just in case…

4.6.12.1148
4.6.12 ~ Jekyll Island, Georgia

Hurricane Sandy I

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a fallen tree across the street from our condo complex ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Tuesday morning we went down to see how our beloved beach had fared in the storm. We kept taking turns with the camera so I’ll credit us both with the pictures in this post! Beach Pond Road was closed to traffic so we walked by the pond on our way to Eastern Point Beach. The storm surge had breached the dunes separating the pond from Long Island Sound, and pushed the water and debris across the street and up onto the lawns across the street.

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
the surge had not fully receded from its highest level ~ 10.30.12 ~ Beach Pond Rd, Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
view of the flooded pond, dunes and Long Island Sound in the background ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
same view, the bushes in the foreground were still surrounded by water ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I think city workers had already plowed away the sand on the road because we were not at all prepared for the scene that awaited us when we got to the beach itself! The road there was covered with about a foot and a half of sand!

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
basketball court covered in sand ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
looks like the top of a tree from who-knows-where ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Tyler House still surrounded by high water ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a park bench turned over and buried in the sand ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
amazed that we could step over the buried chain link fence ~ 10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

More pictures coming soon!

ebbing tide

"Knitting Girl on a Dune" by Bernard Blommers
“Knitting Girl on a Dune” by Bernard Blommers

A thousand miles beyond this sun-steeped wall
Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand,
The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land
With the old murmur, long and musical;
The windy waves mount up and curve and fall,
And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow –
Tho’ I am inland far, I hear and know,
For I was born the sea’s eternal thrall.
I would that I were there and over me
The cold insistence of the tide would roll,
Quenching this burning thing men call the soul, –
Then with the ebbing I should drift and be
Less than the smallest shell along the shoal,
Less than the seagulls calling to the sea.

~ Sara Teasdale
(Sea Longing)

Cumberland Island II

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

More wildlife from Cumberland Island National Seashore… I should also mention that we only visited a small portion of the island – perhaps in the future we will allow more time in our plans for further exploration of its charms…

The crab below was on the Atlantic side of the island.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

The crabs above were on the Cumberland Sound side of the island.

Cumerland Sound ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
a mummified fish? ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

We weren’t sure if the barnacle-encrusted horseshoe crab (above) was alive until its tail moved. When we took a peek underneath its shell it started moving swiftly away from us.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Methinks the horseshoe crab was relieved when we finally left the scene.

Cumberland Island I

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Between the four of us (Nate, Shea, Tim & me) we took well over a thousand pictures with the new camera over our five-day visit to Georgia. We kept taking turns getting shots and spent several evenings dazzled in front of the TV screen watching the digital slideshow of the day’s pictures. It’s been difficult to choose which ones to share here on the blog!

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

Starting off here with our day at Cumberland Island National Seashore, a 45-minute ferry ride from St. Marys, Georgia. Nate had the camera for most of this day so the majority of the shots are probably his. It’s hard to remember who had the camera when, but, he most definitely took the one of the tiny lizard puffing out his throat (above) and we are all blown away over how well it came out!

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

We had hoped to see the wild horses but all we got to see of them was their droppings and hoof-prints. However, the island was teeming with wildlife everywhere we looked, so there wasn’t much room for disappointment.

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
Atlantic Ocean ~ 4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia
4.9.12 ~ Cumberland Island, Georgia

I will be posting more photos as time allows…