Thursday, November 7, 2013

Surf clams and winter coming

I woke in the morning light, wondering if I had missed the sunrise. I pulled jeans and hurricane shirt over long johns I wear as PJs, snagged shoes, and headed for the lighthouse.
Across the road and through Joan & Bill's gate and down their drive, through the Smith's yard to Silverleaf Lane, up my parent's driveway and through a hole in their heldge, then down a little private drive to Shore Road....and a few hundred feet more took me to the Chatham Lighthouse Beach overlook. Silver morning light shone through light gray clouds and reflected off the water below as it rushed toward the sea under the cold still air.  

I had planned to do just a little loop, but decided to walk to the water's edge....then to the next point....and soon had found a sea clam eroding from the sand, unable to dig further into the bed of gravel a few inches below the surface. A while later I found another and planted them in a better area.


Cold air, clear water, hardly any walkers upon the beach.. and death all around. I don't know if there is more in the fall or if I simply see it more when everything is clean and crisp, but I seem very....aware....of the broken shells of surfclams with bits of meat still adhering, the scattered crab legs in a gull-trampled patch of sand, the remains of a duck and another unidentifiable bird devoured by gulls, and the inexperienced or old birds laying still on the beach, some dead and buried by wind-blown sand, others waiting patiently. And even the dunes themselves dissolve noticeably each month, dune grasses falling and washing away as the land disappears under them.

What to do? What CAN one do when the ocean grows colder, the days grow shorter, the fish and birds leave, the beaches grow more quiet, the homes sit empty? Well, talk to friends, pet random dogs, chat with the people I meet.....and, when the clouds part and the sun shines through and I feel a bit too warm as I walk the lonely beach, strip down, wade into that crystal clear 57deg water, dive under the surface, kick and splash and create a happy commotion, then get out and shake myself like a Labrador. Yep, this was another good day in a beautiful world!

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