A Family Vacation at the Cape Begins

We crossed the Sagamore Bridge early in the morning, easily beating any wait and the maddening summer crowds, and then we found our way to Dennisport, MA. Arriving far earlier than check-in time, the hotel was good enough to let us into our rooms within an hour (and with a pair of four-year-olds in tow and antsy to get to the beach, it was truly a blessing.) The sun was shining, and the sky was a brilliant blue. It was the perfect beginning – and it would stay perfect for our entire stay.

On the stereo, the song that always reminds me of summer in Cape Cod played – k.d. lang’s ‘Summerfling.’ From her ‘Invincible Summer’ album – the brilliant companion-piece to any sunny summer day – it set the scene for the beach romps to come. “We ran on the beach with Kennedy flair…” I’ll do a proper musical post about that song at another time. For now, these photos will have to suffice.

When I was a little boy, the beach was one of my favorite places to be. The sun, the sand, the surf, the sandcastles – and the pulsating flow of life – from the waves to the seaweed to the crabs and the fish. The arc of the orb, the incoming tide, and the burrowing sand fleas – all were resplendent beneath the umbrella of a vacation.

Somewhere over the years, my enjoyment of the ocean waned. Well, maybe not so much waned as simply lost an outlet. Vacations no longer encompassed days at the beach, and even on semi-regular stops in Provincetown I rarely found myself making the trek to the sandy shore. It wasn’t until a few years ago, on a July trip to Ogunquit, when I fell under the spell of the ocean again.

The way the waves drummed their hypnotic cadence, the way the sun moved across the sky, and the way the seagulls accented the sand with their shadows and their cries – it conspired to craft a scene of peace, a return to the basic tenets of life.

Out in the distance, deep in the vast expanse of the Atlantic, whales and sharks swam in the murky depths. The thought both terrified and thrilled me – that by stepping gingerly into the cool water I could instantly enter their world. My feet touched the same body of water that lapped at the shore of Europe. Being on the beach always inspired such thoughts, pushed my mind to philosophical challenges. The gears were grinding again, even if they remained a bit rusty.

Already, the return to the ocean was working its magic. The cares of concerns of the landlocked drifted away here. Freedom was at hand. The sea, like the summer, stretched far ahead of us. It was a very good place to be.

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