A Cape Cod Valentine

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“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” –Albert Camus

Corporation Beach, Dennis, MA Cape Cod

To enjoy Cape Cod in winter, you must abandon all previous thoughts of what makes this remote peninsula so alluring at other times of the year. Gone is the penetrating warmth of summer sand, and the omnipresent mopheads of hydrangea blossoms. What remains is stark, cold, and infinitely beautiful.

We took a walk on Corporation beach in Dennis last Sunday. The sun was warm and the sky impossibly blue after days of winter’s gray. After breakfast at Grumpy’s, a local joint worthy of a visit from Guy Fieri for an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, we felt the need to walk a bit, and with Casey, our faithful yellow lab along for the ride, a beach seemed the ideal destination.

Corporation beach is one of those perfect crescents of sand, bounded by a rock jetty at either end, with the deep blue sea in between. Actually it’s the bay, as in Cape Cod Bay, to be exact, and on this day it was a magnificent Mediterranean blue, with just enough surf to create a crescendo of waves pounding against the shore.

Casey was in her element, frolicking on the beach, her sniffer pressed deep against each new heap of seaweed she encountered. Rich and I marveled at the wide expanse of sand nearly deserted at this time of year, the stiff wind against our cheeks, and the thrill of being the first to find a treasure amidst the flotsam and jetsam that washed ashore. Rich came home with a new lobster buoy to add to his collection, and I, a handful of colorful sea glass burnished to perfection by the tumultuous sea.

The summer homes that bordered the beach were locked and shuttered to protect them from winter’s wrath, with their steep wooden stairs that lead to the beach pulled up and shackled to prevent them from becoming driftwood on some far-flung beach. As we walked in silence, each lost in our own thoughts, my mind drifted to all the beaches I’ve had the pleasure to walk along: from Maine to Florida to California; and further afield, Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Bali, Komodo Island, Australia, Rio, the Caribbean, and even a remote beach halfway down the Amazon.

As we made the turn at the end of the beach, it occurred to me that the simple act of strolling along the sand with the waves curling close to your toes is a pleasure unlike anything else. It matters not whether the calendar reads winter, spring, summer or fall, nor if you are attired in earmuffs and down parkas or an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini. What matters is the company you keep and the song you sing in your heart. And for me that would be Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind.

“The summer wind, came blowin’ in – from across the sea.

It lingered there, to touch your hair- and walk with me.

All summer long, we sang a song – and then we strolled that golden sand.

Two sweethearts, and the summer wind.”