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 nine books of essays, most recently a second collection of his radio scripts, “A Cape Cod Notebook – 2,” published by Clock & Rose Press and available at roses-books.com.

A Cape Cod Notebook won the 2006 and 2013 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.

www.300committee.org / bit.ly/2grIy4c

The other day I was walking one of those old, overgrown, and nearly invisible dirt roads on Bound Brook Island – the site of Wellfleet’s first settlement in the late 17 th century, and now largely abandoned. I love wandering in such places of unrecorded and unidentified history, history that resides purely in things and not ideas, not even my own.

John Chapman bit.ly/2g7sRAj / bit.ly/1hYHpKw

I drove down to Paine's Creek at dusk with coffee and a Danish from the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. The beach was white and clean in the dying light. The marsh grass was all tawny, heavy and thick in the fullness of its growth. It toppled over itself in windrows with its own accumulated mass, weighted like the heavy boughs of the apple tree behind my garden.

bit.ly/2fGPF9M

It was this month, thirty years ago, that Hollywood came to the Outer Cape. The occasion was the filming of Norman Mailer’s crime novel, Tough Guys Don’t Dance , which was set in Provincetown. It wasn’t a very good novel, and the film wasn’t much better, but it starred Ryan O’Neil and Isabella Rossellini, and for a week or two some people were excited about the possibility of sighting a movie star or two in our small villages in the off-season.

Carlos Pacheco bit.ly/2fmv0HW / bit.ly/1mhaR6e

I am sitting on the beach at Long Point, my legs stretched out towards the town that rests in unmistakable outline across the Harbor. I have, as it were, Provincetown at my feet. This is surely the best vantage point from which to view it, nestled, in Joseph Berger's sly image, "like a piece of silver that has just crossed the palm of Cape Cod."

Martyn Jenkins bit.ly/2elxVyZ / bit.ly/1hYHpKw

On the previous broadcast I described some of the major damage that this four-day northeast gale – known as the Perfect Storm - did to the Cape’s beaches and shoreline structures over the Halloween weekend in 1991. But what remains most vivid in my memory is the effect the storm had on the Cape’s bird life, in particular, gannets.

NOAA bit.ly/2dJfNkK / bit.ly/2er6W8M

This coming weekend marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of an extraordinary meteorological event that was known variously as “The Halloween Gale” or “The No-Name Storm” of 1991. But perhaps it’s best remembered as “The Perfect Storm” the term used by meteorologists to describe an unusual alignment of three major weather systems along the northeast coast – a “perfect” alignment, if you will, that produced a northeast storm of almost unprecedented length and intensity.

David Merrett bit.ly/2ei5HGk / bit.ly/1mhaR6e

The other day I drove down to the Nauset Light Beach parking lot in North Eastham for the first time since Labor Day. Somehow, in its off-season emptiness, I was struck even more than usual at how extensive and labyrinthine a maze the entrance to this beach has become over time.

Robert Finch

When we think of town conservation areas, we usually think of large tracts of protected land, places like the 1200-acre West Barnstable Conservation Area, or perhaps somewhat smaller tracts like the 44-acre Wiley Park in Eastham. But over the past couple of decades there have been dozens of other, smaller conservation areas created on the Cape and Islands, all of them less than twenty acres in extent, and most under ten.

http://www.cathedralgrove.eu

Last August I flew out to Santa Cruz, California, to attend my nephew’s wedding. It had been nearly twenty-five years since I had been out West, and even longer since I had seen some of my relatives.

Tofu bit.ly/2cF4Dg5 / bit.ly/OJZNiI

We are about to enter “northeaster season,” that time of year when ocean storms strafe our exposed peninsula, often rearranging its topography. They also tend to rearrange our image of ourselves, from that of beleaguered residents enduring the onslaught of summer tourists to that of “rugged New Englanders,” enduring our character-building climate of winter gales and occasional blizzards.

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