A Cape Cod Notebook

by Robert Finch

A Cape Cod Notebook can be heard every Tuesday morning at 8:45am and afternoon at 5:45pm.

A nature writer living in Wellfleet, Robert Finch has written about Cape Cod for more than forty years. He is the author of seven collections of essays, most recently a collection of his radio scripts, published by On Cape Publications. He is co-editor of "The Norton Book of Nature Writing."

A Cape Cod Notebook won the 2006 New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.

For archives of A Cape Cod Notebook, including programs dating from before November 2012, go to the Cape Cod Notebook Archives

Robert Finch

The fox is back, and this time she has four kits with her. It was the last week of April when we began hearing those weird, high, harsh shrieks at night – fox alarm, or fox mating calls, I was told.

Robert Finch

There’s a little dirt road in our town that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Its name is High Toss Bridge Road, and how it got that unusual name is a story in itself, but I’ll save that for last.

Dawidl / WikimediaCommons

For the past month or so, I have been watching the slow development of the flower buds on the red maple tree outside my study. This weekend, the maple blossoms came down in showers of wind, falling like small dark red stars onto the ground.

Two Shores, Two Lives

May 3, 2016
Joanna Vaughan / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Last night, driving home from a movie in Dennis, I stopped at Linnell Landing on the Brewster shore to see if I could still see the Provincetown Monument from there. Instead, I saw my life, as it was, and as it is.

Marcy Leigh / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I went out to Marconi Beach yesterday to see what it might have to say. At some times and places, where the bluffs are relatively low, say 30 or 40 feet, as they are here, and the tide fairly far out, as it was then, it’s the beach, in all its wide expanse, that takes precedence.


One of the reasons I look forward to the opening of P.J.’s on Rt. 6 in Wellfleet each spring is so that I can once again get a kiddie-vanilla-cone-with-a-chocolate-dip for $1.87, including tax.

Arthur Chapman / flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Human beings seem to possess a perennial urge to locate and define those qualities that make our species unique. We are constantly looking for traits that we don’t share with any other living creatures. 

Cape Cod Squad / youtu.be/B38OOEhNM98

A few weeks ago, on an unusually warm, sunny afternoon in late February, I drove down to Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, where there seemed to be a convention of surfers, some coming off the beach, some coming on. In the past such a crowd at this time of year would have signaled a shipwreck, a whale stranding, or at least a good northeaster.

photoholic1 / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I was standing on Uncle Tim’s Bridge the other afternoon, a wooden pedestrian bridge in Wellfleet Center that spans Duck Creek linking the island of Cannon Hill to Commercial Street. The tide was high and the air was calm, so that the sky, brilliantly blue, was reflected like a mirror in the water. 

Cape Cod National Seashore / wikimedia commons

One day last month, before the rains fell again, I took a walk in South Wellfleet along the ocean bluffs across a flat and curiously barren shelf of land that runs between Marconi Beach and the historic Marconi Site to the north. This tableland is in the northern part of what is geologically known as the "Plains of Eastham."