Getting The Cape

 July 9, 2008
Posted by Kitzie Stern

I’ve been away from my home/studio for almost 3 weeks . . . way too long. I was in Philadelphia for several weeks taking care of my Mom after knee replacement (that’s another story). But now I’m in Cape Cod with my husband’s family. This isn’t my first time, I’ve been here twice before. But this time I think I finally get it.

The Cape is a different vacation experience for me. I grew up in Philly, and I’m used to goin’ down the shore, specifically Ocean City or Avalon, and laying on the beach with my friends. The Cape Cod shore experience involves woods, lakes, bugs and the like. I haven’t done much camping, and the whole woodsy, bugsy thing creeps me out. But yesterday a walk through the woods around several bodies of water (I’m still trying to figure the place out) was delightful despite the bugs. So was the ice cream parlor last night. And the tour of the Victorian sea captain’s house was a gas . . . no kidding! Today I swam in the lake . . . glorious, and I even got to like all the dragonflies flitting around.

History is so present here, and there is such charm, despite the traffic and the crowds. I’ve just finished a book recommended by my mother-in-law called “The Widow’s War” by Sally Gunning. The story of the spirited, young whaling widow got me so involved in imagining her life in colonial Cape Cod, I pretended to be her today as I walked along the trail by our house . . . imagining my long skirt swishing and a freshly caught fish in hand. It helped that the setting for the book and the author are both local. And I’m good at imagining.

I’m pretty new in town, but here’s what I know. Here there is always an awareness of the immense power of nature. History is always present. The greenery is lush, and wild roses cascade over old stone walls. There are stories of the old farmhouse, of glorious carefree childhood summers on the Cape. Of sailing with cousins. Of fresh corn and grandmother’s blackberry pies. It must have been grand, and in so many ways it still is.

Dear Cape Cod,

It appears I have sand in my shoes. Catch you next time.