A Cape Cod Notebook | CAI

A Cape Cod Notebook


Aug 13, 2019
Toan Phan / unsplash

My grandchildren live on the other side of the country. They are here for two weeks in the summer and two weeks at the winter holidays, so I’m lucky that I’m the grandmother associated with an exotic locale and the freedom that comes with vacation. Who wouldn’t like a lifestyle that includes rolling off Mayflower Beach at 7 p.m., stopping at Captain Frosty’s for hot dogs and ice cream, and taking an outdoor shower as the moon rises?

Here and Now

Aug 6, 2019
Mary Bergman

There are days when you can’t see the horizon out here. Days when the fog is so dense, sea and sky are stitched together as one fabric, but you can’t find the seam. The ocean stretches on from here to Portugal, people like to say. The ocean is virtually endless.

The Aerial Choreography of the Peregrine Falcon

Jul 30, 2019
L. Lerner


It was late morning, walking the East End beach on a falling tide.  Sand damp beneath our feet, shells and seaweed strewn about.  It is mild and almost foggy; rain is on the way.  From the water there emanates a funky, fishy smell- schools of mackerel in the harbor, they say.  

A Very Cape Cod Moment

Jul 23, 2019
L. Lerner


On a recent beautiful morning, I chatted with a fisherman on the beach. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I was wearing my underwear. 

Maybe This Is the Year

Jul 16, 2019
Mary Bergman

Spring is beginning to stretch its legs, the sun is calling to us to get outside and move around. There are moments now, when the sun comes out and decides to stay a while, when the wind is still, where it feels as bright and warm as mid-July.

The Call of Gulls

Jul 9, 2019
Patrick Hendry / unsplash

I was lying in bed, between dreams, wide awake.  It was late - or early - 3:35 AM.  The house was still (no, not even a mouse…), the woods were quiet - the cricket din excepted.  No street noise, nothing from Route 6.  I lie awake. 

Mysterious Gnomes on 6A

Jul 2, 2019
Craig McLachlan / unsplash

There are gnomes hiding on Route 6A.

And before you think I’m a little too far into the chardonnay, let me reassure you that I know they are not real.

Roadside Robin

Jun 25, 2019
Dakota Lynch / CC 3.0

It was only for an instant, a second, a microsecond- a flash. I was driving north on Rt. 28, leaving Woods Hole and headed back to Provincetown, hurtling down the highway at perhaps 45 miles per hour.

Take It or Leave It

Jun 18, 2019
Mary Bergman


The landfill is one of three hubs on which life on Nantucket rotates around--the post office and the grocery store the two others. Stay long enough at any of the three and you are sure to run into everyone you know, including maybe some you are trying to avoid. 

Fleeting Spring

Jun 11, 2019
L. Lerner


It is a truism that by the time we notice spring it is essentially over. 

A Special Place and a Favorite Fishing Spot

Jun 4, 2019
Susan Moeller


This is a story about memory and remembrance. And, because this is Cape Cod, fishing. 

In the 1970s, my in-laws owned a house on Bass River. One day, probably around 1975, when my husband and I were walking our dogs along the shore, I glanced up at the river bank and saw … a gravestone. 

Summer Jobs

May 28, 2019
Mary Bergman

I’ve always thought of getting a job in the summer on Cape Cod a bit like a bear catching salmon running upstream--all you had to do was stick your hand out and grab one. Help wanted signs dot the Cape from Provincetown to the Bridge, and with a season so short, summer is what you make of it. All you really had to do to be an exceptional employee was to stay past labor day.

Pondering Pine Trees

May 21, 2019

It is spring now, and raining, but just a couple of weeks ago, at the very end of March, I was hiking in the hilly woods of western Massachusetts, and there was still a couple feet of snow.

Why a Garage is Not a Barn

May 14, 2019
Susan Moeller

“Mom, where’s the screwdriver?” my daughter asks.

“In the barn,” I reply.

Brief silence.

“You mean the garage?”

“Yeah, the garage. Whatever.”

An Appreciation of Daffodils

May 7, 2019
L. Lerner

I never thought about daffodils very much before I `moved to Martha’s Vineyard.

The Intimacy of Radio

Apr 30, 2019

Radio is magic.  If you are listening to these words you most likely agree.  But why?  Why is radio such a magical medium?  It may have something to do with the fact that you must bring more of yourself to it: unlike television, there is no picture.  So you must lean in, fill in the blanks with your own imagery, and consequently become more invested in it.  The voices of our favorite radio personalities become so familiar to us.  We live in their folds and crevices, their lilts and slight accents, and feel we know them. 

The Season's First Dip

Apr 23, 2019
Mary Bergman

It can hardly be called a swim, that first plunge into the ocean in early spring. I suppose dip is the best description--or dunk, like one of those tanks at a county fair where somebody hurls a ball at a button and the bottom drops out from under you, and you are submerged. The element of surprise is there, even if you are the one doing the running, the diving, and ultimately, the dipping.

The Sand Jointweed, a Tiny Miracle

Apr 16, 2019
Thomas H. Kent / Flora Finder / Creative Commons / bit.ly/2v8HSKd


I sing the praises of the lowly Sand Jointweed (Polygonella articulata).

It grows primarily in the sandy area north of the Old Colony Nature Trail, in the East End of Provincetown, right where my dog and I hike every day.  It is lowly- just a few inches tall- and almost always recumbent or absolutely prostrate on the sand.  

What Winters Are Like

Apr 9, 2019
L. Lerner


“But what are the winters like?” 

It’s the Frequently Asked Question of the seasonal visitor to the year-round resident. Too long, is one answer. Milder than you might think.  And more beautiful than you can imagine.  

Small White Perch, Big Smile

Apr 2, 2019
Nelson Sigelman

One of the pleasures of living on Martha’s Vineyard is that spring arrives in tangible ways. You hear it and you taste it.

The Gifts That Ride in the Waves

Mar 26, 2019
Mary Bergman

I was driving through the rain the other evening on Cliff Road, searching for turnoff to Hinkley Lane, straining to see through my sandblasted windshield and the fog. For a minute I imagined Nantucket as a lost city, nestled there at the bottom of the sea. I was a SCUBA diver, exploring the ruins. When this island is gone, will we all be lost at sea?

Be at Home Wherever You Are

Mar 19, 2019
L. Lerner

I have often wondered how our year-round fauna and flora manage to withstand the extremes of weather that a Cape Cod year comprises: temperatures at or below freezing at one end and sweltering heat in the 90s at the other.  I know some of the physiological adaptations involved, but, really, it is hard to imagine the experiences of our oaks and pines, our chickadees and cardinals.

A Sandy, Shifting Place

Mar 12, 2019
Mary Bergman


I tend to think of Nantucket as this place that is constantly shifting, and in many ways it is. People come and go, drift with the seasons and the tides. Our population ebbs and flows from some 17,000 in the off season to close to 50,000 in the summer. This time of year, school break arrives and the island clears out except for the few of us left behind to make sure the lights stay on and the dogs get walked. A hearty handful of businesses stay open, but the rest shutter their doors and take a much needed break. After all, the high season is already on the horizon. 

Winter Clamming Digs Up Many Rewards

Mar 5, 2019
Nelson Sigelman

The sun was low in the horizon when I arrived at Tashmoo Pond. The temperature was above average for a February day. Mid-forties I guessed. One week earlier, it had been in the teens.

Life Goes On

Feb 26, 2019
Gary Eslinger / USFWS / Creative Commons 2.0 / bit.ly/2GJCW6w

A line of poetry passed through my mind yesterday, about a landscape so pure, so cold and quiet, that one could “feel the shadow of the hawk’s wing pass over the land.” I felt that same silence of a hawk at the moment when all the busy chatter, the comings and goings of the birds at my half dozen bird feeders came to an abrupt halt.