On this gray evening, cold permeates the Cape Cod National Seashore. Regardless of the groundhog's antics (and those of the humans around him), we know that we have weeks before our bare toes can comfortably slide into the sand.
I've been thinking about this column for a while. What do I write when the crowds are gone, Park restrooms shuttered, and finding locally made ice cream requires a hunt?
Then, it came to me---- I'll write about what's open!
First, in my mind, the wonderful seashore itself still welcomes surfers, walkers, and those who dart from their cars for only a moment to view the vast, beautiful blue ocean.
The beach is busy, as the shorebirds that winter here fish and dig for their dinners. Last week, I met a woman at Coast Guard Beach whose delight with shorebirds brings her to the same spot throughout the year. Bringing warmth to that cold day, Mister Sun received our gratitude by just showing up.
Along the Seashore's many trails, the deciduous trees have shed. Their naked branches provide the opportunity for a deeper look into the woods, at fallen timbers and gnarled branches, beautiful natural pieces of sculpture.
The snow-covered cedars pose for greeting cards, as they shelter cardinals, chickadees, and other permanent residents. Even on the White Cedar Swamp Trail, cross- country skiers enjoy the beauty and the quiet.
Conversely, the Red Maple Swamp Trail buzzes not with bees or mosquitos, but with the sound of chain saws and other equipment as work continues to reopen this special place.
Thank you, thank you for your support to make this happen!
No doubt about it, winter has come to the Seashore. It's a time to treasure in this always-awesome place. Moreover, Salt Pond Visitor Center, including its restrooms, is open, as are some restaurants all along the six towns in the Seashore, and at least one ice cream shop!
And of course, Friends is still busy making a difference!
A thanks to Carol Lindemann for her beautiful photograph of Fresh Brook.