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 ten books of essays, the latest of which is "The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore," published by W.W. Norton.

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.

Vern Laux

On Nauset Beach, Robert Finch contemplates the presence of eiders, and their embodiment of a natural community. 

Putneypics bit.ly/2jaM0Ba / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

This week on A Cape Cod Notebook, Robert Finch strolls the beach in winter.

Becky Dalzell

If there’s anything than interests me more than local history, it's unrecorded local history – that is, events, stories, characters and places that live only in the memories of long-time residents – and sometimes not even there, sometimes only in the shapes of certain landscapes, or in the presence of mute but evocative objects that require the beholder to shape and piece together a tentative narrative about their history.

Jennifer Sherry bit.ly/2jAeDfJ / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Early last month, on my way home from a dentist appointment, I stopped at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham at the end of the day. I have a long history with this barrier beach, going back to the 1960s, when there were still a dozen or so beach shacks strung along its length. 

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.

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