December sauntered onto the Cape beguiling us with unusually mild weather and smiling down on the Christmas Stroll festivities in Harwich (Dec 3rd – Dec 5th). How easy to be tricked into thinking that maybe this winter could pass with an endless procession of similarly sun-filled days. I don’t think so. December’s true face will soon show and we’ll be pulling up the collars on our thick coats and pulling down our hats as far as we can and keeping out the cold.
But the inevitable arrival of chilly weather is always accompanied by a quite extraordinary gift to those who live or visit the Cape at this time of year – empty beaches! The pristine beaches of Cape Cod are some of the best in the USA and to be here in winter is to experience these sandy riches as if they are your own. It’s fair to say that summer has the advantage that you can plunge into Nantucket Sound without the need for an inch of lard encasing your body but in winter the throngs (and thongs) are gone and you can walk, run, skip or hop (whatever your pleasure) along the beach in blissful solitude.
I’ve always had a love for the sea and there is nothing more exhilarating for the soul than watching the unending march of waves to the shore and listening to the pounding percussion as the wave ends its long journey by crashing triumphantly onto the beach. It’s a quite elemental emotion that stirs the blood (well mine anyway) and many people have put it more eloquently than I including JFK “ …And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”
So I try to make the most of my luck and every day take the short stroll from our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast down to Belmont Beach at the end of our road so that I can say hello to the sea, wave out to distant Nantucket and walk or run along the beach. I could say with the wind blowing through my hair but as I make Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard) look positively hirsute, that would be stretching my poetic license.