If you drive around inland Maine on some of the smaller highways, especially in the morning, you're likely to get the impression (as I did), that the only inhabitants of this state are all the stedfast New England yankees interred in all the picturesque cemeteries that are so prevalent on these back road. Dead people and cows. Really independent cows that don't need people (because, remember, the people are all dead.) That's who lives in central Maine.
song: As Far As I Can See • artist: Joanne Cassidy
Yesterday S & N decided they were going into business by giving biking lessons to anyone on our road who'd like six year olds to teach them to ride bikes.
They decided to announce these lessons by making up some advertising posters but they had a falling out when S only made two signs and N thought he should have made three. N then proceeded to throw a fit and kick and scream for the better part of 20 minutes.
If only there was a six year old on our street who was offering anger management classes.
Yesterday I drove past Old Silver at 9AM and there wasn't a big line of cars in the live parking lane. At 10:00 I was at Megansett and there wasn't even a parking lot attendant on duty.
Summer's definitely over.
Pretty sure I've spent the whole summer drying beach towels and tying shoe laces. Why oh why won't my kids wear sandals or flip flops in summer like normal children? Why do they insist, on the hottest of days, when we're just driving to the beach where we'll be taking them off anyway, on jamming their feet into knit socks and then lacing up sneakers? It's hot and a waste of time. I guess I get it - you can't run around as well in flip flops or sandals (it's a boy thing), it's just that to me slip on shoes were the essence of summer when I was growing up. We didn't wear sandals or flip flops during the school year - just during summer. I remember walking into the skating rink in tights but still wearing flip flops which was ridiculous because the nylon webbing between your big toe and your second toe made it impossible to keep the shoe on but it was summer dammit and if I was going to suffer the indignity of a bathing cap during swimming lessons because I had to jump out of the ocean and go straight to the skating rink then I damn well was wearing my flip flops into the rink, tights and all. song: Walking in Your Footsteps • the Police
I sign up my kids for swim lessons not just because I want them to learn to swim, though I do, but also because swim lessons forces us to go to the beach at least Monday through Friday for six weeks in the summer. Feeling obliged to go to the beach does two things the first of which is to force us to appreciate living here on Cape Cod, which, as I've lived here my whole life, could easily be taken for granted. The second is it forces you to really know the beach. Noticing the tide and knowing in advance if it's going to be high or low tide reconnects us, if only slightly, to our ancestors who knew when to get up because it was daylight and when to go to bed because it was dark. And also, because Megan the swim instructor's not afraid to get wet (and because we've paid in advance), we go to the beach not only on perfect, sunny, beach days but also on overcast days and on windy days and even on rainy days. And in a way this gives the beach more depth. If you only go to the beach on ideal beach days then the beach is just a perfect, superficial, place. Always happy. Always smiling. Always aiming to please. Adverse weather brings out the beach's complexity; it's brooding moments, it's more thoughtful, mature nature. The beach becomes it's own entity and not just something that's there merely for our own private pleasure. We should shun the fair weather friend and at the very least not limit ourselves to only the fair weather beach day.
song: Down by the Water • artist: The Decemberists
At least on Cape Cod the farmer's tan has been replaced by the UV protection swim-shirt tan. Today was the last day of swim lessons and it was a first because the tide was low enough so that S & N were finally able to walk out to the "swim area" buoy. Their observation, "it's bigger up close." It was also a great day because just as we were about to give up and leave the ice cream truck arrived which meant I got to spring for a blueberry Two Ball Screw and a Tear Jerkers Bomb Pop with a gumball in the tip; two novelly ice cream treats that sound (and cost) more like cocktail drinks than popsicles.
So I'm coming around the corner by West Falmouth Harbor this morning and on the lawn in front of one of the houses I see (because you couldn't miss it), the biggest inflatable pool toy I've ever seen. It's a swan, the size of a Hyundai. A small family could catch a ride by handing onto the swan's neck or set themselves down inside the giant ring which made up the body of the bird.
As I'm looking at this enormous water fowl and thinking what the heck have we all come to that we need to swim with gigantic blow-up swans, I almost hit a guy on a bike who is coming around that blind corner by the water.
And after my heart rate returns to normal it occurs to me that the set up for this accident, wherein an early-morning driver hit a cyclist after being distracted by a giant inflatable cygnet, sounds like the plot to an as-yet-to-be written John Irving book.
Why does the car's dashboard panel tell me when the driver doesn't have their seatbelt on? Owing to the fact that I am the driver, I can pretty much figure out for myself if I'm not wearing my seatbelt. What minivans really need is a dashboard indicator to tell mom when one of their kids (especially in the way back) doesn't have their seatbelt clicked. Of course on the other hand I do have H, who is quite good at telling me who is misbehaving and who is not.
Sometimes I stand on the concrete steps leading down to Old Silver Beach and feel a wee bit like the crying Indian from the 1970s Keep American Beautiful commercial even though I know that was just a farce and that that guy wasn't even a Native American. That commercial still makes me sad and that river wasn't half as trashed as Old Silver gets at the end of a good beach day. You can look across the sand and fool yourself for a few seconds into thinking that all those white specks are seashells instead of water bottles, plastic lids, bottle caps, candy wrappers, plastic shovels, sunglasses, and whatnot. Come on people. That plastic trash you're leaving behind is going straight into the ocean.
Why is it I always feel sheepish about dumping clam or quahog shells into the ocean? I always wait until the end of the day or even nighttime before venturing down to the beach for this covert operation. It feels like illegal dumping or something shady like that. Like I might get caught. "Oh! Look at her! Dumping those shells BACK INTO THE OCEAN! Who does she think she is anyway?" I guess dumping anything into the water just feel like littering.