Corpses litter the beach.Macabre yet stunning in their simplicity. Erosion is the guilty party. Stands of trees surrender onto the sand and are bleached into submission. Having read about the beach and its nickname, I couldn’t wait to find it. The task became more difficult than I expected because it has several names, and Boneyard Beach isn’t endorsed by the visitor center. It’s formal name is Black Rock Beach and finding it was well worth the communication issue. The December morning we visited, the deserted beach didn’t disappoint. The formations of trees and roots, those that lie in isolation and some entangled with others , took my breath away and made my camera tired. I might have stayed longer, but it’s the kind of place that will appear different the next time I visit. I didn’t want to feel greedy, as if I had taken too many photos and stopped experiencing the moment. Sometimes I need to remind myself how to do that.
So there was this lighthouse I wanted to see. Sounds a bit like an earlier post from this week…. This one’s not all about me.My son and I took my mom on a vacation.To get to Egmont Key, you take a boat. No problem, we told my mom (who also grew up in New York City and never learned to swim), not to be afraid because we’d probably see some dolphins and all would be well. The water , a bit choppy , the boat zooming over the water, sunshine on our faces, we all relaxed. I couldn’t wait to land at the dock and start shooting. We drew close to the key and there’s no dock… There’s nothing but water. The crew is instructing us how to descend the ladder and then to wade to the key.My mom’s face said it all. I spoke to a crew member and asked if it would have been too much to tell us before we started out as to how we would get to land. His only answer was that the boat remains anchored until time to leave and if we didn’t want to leave the boat, all we could do was sit. Other passengers weighed in on our side as to how expecting this eighty year – old lady to wade through the water was wrong.But there still was no dock. A surprisingly strong voice next to me said, ” I’ll do it! ” The ladder was the easy part. My son , the first part of this sandwich, hit the water, felt the cold and the current., and grimaced at me.Mom ventured down next. One hand connected to her grandson, the other holding on to me. I descended and put my arms around her. She was shaking. The strong current and uneven bottom made trudging through chest high water difficult.Mom didn’t say a word, her teeth chattered and she put all her energy into holding tight.When we reached the beach, a crew member handed me our things. He had held them over his head as he followed us in. Mom set up camp on the beach, hung out some of her wet things on nearby branches, smiled bravely, and told us to go explore. Totally shocked, I wandered off. The key ‘s beauty is unquestionable. The lighthouse, wide swath of beach and remains of an old fort, all called to my camera. But what remained with me that day , was my mom’s strength and desire to accomplish something that terrified her in order to please us. I’m not sure I would have , but there’s a great lesson in courage for me to learn from this. After all these years , I’m still learning from my Mom.
I am a fighter. Sometimes that’s a strength. Speaking your mind and standing up for things you are passionate about, those are worth doing. Sometimes I forget there are small things – those you need to let go by. This photograph is a daily reminder for me that there comes a time to bend with the wind – whether that means letting someone else lead, saving your resources for other battles or just realizing that bending is much better than breaking.
Full moon and sunset, there seems to be a question of timing. Full moon in all it’s early July splendor seemed so eager to show off that it refused to wait for the sunset to surrender. For my daughter and I watching the battle of wills on shore it captivated our attention. As we walked the streets of Provincetown, we’d check down side streets to see how the view changed. Every time we paused I felt like the Pied Piper because crowds would come up behind us and finally notice.Then all the phones came out! We followed until the sun retired and the moon triumphed in this skirmish.
If I ever run away, it won’t be hard to find me. Just look in this little shack looking out over the dunes where the murmuring of the waves and screeching of gulls are all the conversation I need.It isn’t a new idea. Many writers and artists have taken refuge in these shacks over the years.Eugene O’Neill and Norman Mailer both worked on the dunes. They were on to something.
Off an island in Boston Harbor waits a quiet beach and a place to breathe.You can hear the gulls and pulse of the waves lap the shore.