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, including a second collection of his radio scripts, “A Cape Cod Notebook – 2,” published by Clock & Rose Press and available at roses-books.com. His new book, "The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk Along Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore," will be out in May, 2017.

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.


 A Cape Cod Notebook is made possible in part with support from Titcomb’s Bookshop on Route 6A in East Sandwich.

Cosmo bit.ly/2hOhwJc / bit.ly/1hYHpKw

In today's Cape Cod Notebook, Robert Finch takes us along on a walk through Wellfleet, from Duck Creek Harbor to Cannon Hill.

mararie bit.ly/2hBv5aS / bit.ly/2hBysP9

Last winter, two friends from Oregon visited us for a weekend. On Sunday I took them out to the dunes of the Provincelands, following a series of familiar sand-marks that I have traced across this ever-changing and forever-unchanging landscape for more than half a century.

John Stanton bit.ly/2hFEqBM / bit.ly/1pawxfE

The North Truro Air Force Base was located at the very eastern edge of the Highland Plains, and thus afforded a spectacular ocean view to the military personnel and their families that lived there. A double cyclone fence topped with barbed wire surrounded the base: an outer one around its perimeter, including the cliff edge, and an inner one protecting the military compound, the command center, and the radar domes.

http://www.radomes.org/museum/

In my adolescence I was an avid science fiction reader, and one of my favorite books was Ray Bradbury’s iconic collection of stories, The Martian Chronicles. It was published in 1950 at the beginning of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. One of the most poignant and quietly chilling of Bradbury’s tales is called “And There Will Come Soft Rains.”

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 17th 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.

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