— From Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau
Among the memorable experiences from a first-time vacation on Cape Cod last week was encountering the Brewster Flats (we stayed at a cottage on a bluff overlooking the ocean in the town of Brewster), the widest expanse of their kind in North America, a factoid I was unaware of until after my visit. One can literally walk on water for a (squishy) mile over what is for most of the day Cape Cod Bay, into an oasis of peace and serenity that can only compare to what I felt at the top of a huge glacier in Alaska many years ago.
Watch long enough and the moored boats begin to rise almost miraculously as high tide returns, a ritual that depicts nature in all its transformative glory. The area is remarkable for its schizzy weather shifts as well, where a blinding fog can lift in a matter of minutes, and gorgeous sunlight is doused by ominous clouds in what seems like seconds. The sunset on our last day ranked as one of the most magical I’ve ever seen; applause was heard from a far-off distance as the sun finally disappeared beneath the horizon.
In Cape Cod (published in 1865), Thoreau wrote, “Even the sedentary man here enjoys a breadth of view which is almost equivalent to motion.” Nearly 150 years later, the sweep of that view remains as moving as ever.