Since I first became infatuated with Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) last year, I’ve sought out opportunities to indulge my urge to be on the water paddling to my heart’s content. In July I had a great time in my hometown with friends tooling around the lake on a windy afternoon in kayaks and on board. This month I got on board in Cape Cod and experienced entirely new conditions and scenery. Let me tell you about it…
On Friday I picked up two paddle boards (along with leashes, paddles and a life vest) from Jack’s. Although they originally couldn’t commit to renting them to me for three days due to scheduling conflicts, ultimately they extended my one-day rental into a three-day at a cost of $127 per board total. We spent two days paddling around at the beach at the end of our road on Lieutenant’s Island. At high tide the tidal marsh fills in and it was quite an adventure to paddle through the tall grasses spying on birds and taking random turns going deeper into the marsh.
On the third day, we put in at the bridge down the road a bit. Again, the tide was high and we actually launched from the side of the road a few hundred yards before the bridge. As Quinn and a gang of other kids jumped from the bridge, we paddled to join him. Going under the bridge took some attention, but the allure of the bay made it a worthwhile effort and we enjoyed the peace of the open water. We headed towards “our” beach but turned around as I had a moment of feeling the need to check in with my jumper.
Assured that all was fine, we again went under the bridge (easier the second time around) and explored the salt marsh taking advantage of the unique view of the island. Aloysius and I then went our separate ways, he heading back towards the car and me ducking under that bridge one last time to take the long paddle to the beach.
I love the independence of being out on the water, pacing myself and feeling the sun on my shoulders and the salt air in my face. If you haven’t already, try it. Stand up paddle boarding – it is what’s up!
The older I grow, the more I know how short life is. It’s going to sound silly but no one in my life illustrates this point to me more than Jeter. At a mere 18 months, he has probably already lived more than 15 percent of his life, a realization that makes me want to give him the happiest life ever. Two weeks at the beach are bound to earn me quite a bit of credit, don’t you think?
This is his first vacation and I had some trepidation about his behavior, imagining him knocking the not-quite-three-year-old down the stairs with his exuberance and gnawing on various objects made of wood around the house. I wasn’t sure if he would go crazy when we left him alone and bark or misbehave. To transition him, I brought a couple of roasted marrow bones (long, not round!), his toys and his bowls from home.
Other than an incident with an abandoned bag of Smart Food, he has been stellar. We start our day with a walk and breakfast followed by a longer walk and a swim. He naps on the deck where he has his choice of sun, shade or tabletop and has been lovely with all of the kids. There have been other dogs to play with on the beach and he loves swimming in the bay and playing monkey in the middle whenever there’s a game of catch in which he can insert himself.
Jeter has tried to come paddle boarding with me but refuses to commit to sitting on the board, preferring to leap off and climb back on repeatedly. He also enjoys high tide bridge jumping impressing everyone with his fearless enthusiasm to be near his people in the water. All of his time spent in the water necessitates a post-swim shower and I’ve been getting Jeter accustomed to a quick rinse in the outdoor shower. It’s growing on him.
Our first evening here I picked three ticks off of Jeter, (although I think I may have picked the same one off twice) and the green head flies feasted on him prior to the full moon high tide, drawing blood on more than one occasion. Despite these aggressive parasites, I’m pretty sure Jeter would happily revisit the beach every year of his life and I’d love to be able to make that happen for him. It’s definitely a dog’s life.
In the quiet of the morning I have the house to myself. The trees sway a bit and occasionally the tremendous wind chimes toll their gorgeous and deep notes. It’s peaceful and I find myself, rather than imagining the day’s activities, reflecting upon all the years we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in this beautiful place.
For seventeen summers we’ve been coming to Cape Cod. My children don’t recall a single summer of their lives when they did not spend some amount of time at the beach. Their growth from infants covered and protected from the sun to young boys slathered in sunscreen sporting (hopefully) life-preserving vests to almost men itching to drive has been breathtaking. I wish I could remember more of the early days, but the memories which do remain are vivid and never fail to elicit a smile. They were exhausting, but good days.
As the children have grown at a furious rate of speed the overall pace of our vacation has decreased. No longer is it necessary to pack multiple bags and coolers in an attempt to anticipate every single need imaginable. Life here has become simple in a new, now more easily appreciated way.
Moving forward isn’t always easy, though. Growth and change can be intimidating and there are scary parts to negotiate as we travel from who we once were to who we are destined to become. And now, over the quiet gong of the wind chimes, I hear feet slap the wood floor. Time to share the day.
Photo: Jessica Kelly
Tonight we laughed under a sky filled with shadows and ever changing bands of purple and fuchsia. As the sun set in the west, I waded through the tide to reach the bridge so I could witness (and cheer on) the daredevil feats of 4 boys. It was a magical evening.
The wind was wet and warm driving away the pesky green headed flies and allowing the guys to jump “one more time” again and again. I thought about their boldness and admired their nerve. It gets harder as we age to take leaps into the quasi darkness.
We’re approaching a second full moon for the month of July, a blue moon, and the waters are responding by becoming deeper at high tide. On our little slice of heaven the road leading to the bridge becomes unpassable, prompting a sense of isolation which can leave us feeling comforted or detached. Or maybe both.
The water, though, will recede and our path will again be revealed. And, of course, despite tonight’s fascination with the colors of the setting of the sun, the sun will also rise.
- Having no idea whatsoever of the time.
- A margarita – and then another one.
- Donuts with breakfast and chips with lunch.
- Classic board games.
- Ordering your afternoon like this: walk – nap – run – shower – wine.
- Another load of towels in the washing machine.
- A layer of stickiness that can only be created by salty air, sand and sunscreen.
- Eating off of paper plates and out of Rubbermaid containers.
- Finding a temporary new rhythm that is decidedly a bit off beat.
This isn’t Jeter, but this is what he looked like!
Late the other night, after dinner and a run and some quality time with a pint of Haagen Daz, I finally settled on the couch with a bottle of cider and my guy to relax. The plan was to pick up where we last left off in our much-delayed viewing of The Sopranos and I was very really looking forward to reconnecting with all of the involved.
Jeter was his usual good-natured self, happily enjoying a roasted marrow bone. As I refreshed my memory with a few minutes of the previous episode (sometimes I doze off) Jeter jumped up on the couch next to me, something he doesn’t normally do. I pushed him down. He jumped back up. I pushed him down a second time, looking him in the eyes and saying “no.” That’s when I noticed the marrow bone circling his lower jaw.
We sat him down and began our attempts to remove it. We tried to slide it, turn it and push it all to no avail. He wasn’t in pain, but he was drooling up a storm since his mouth wouldn’t completely close and he couldn’t fully swallow. I began to panic – be it one of the boys or the dog, I definitely don’t shine in situations such as this. I called the emergency vet’s office and we headed over to Latham.
We arrived to a nearly empty waiting room and a full staff of super nice people. Wagging his tail, Jeter left my side and went with a vet tech to a room where they sedated him and deftly slid the bone “donut” off his jaw. It couldn’t have been much more than 5 minutes later when the tech returned with the offending bone in hand and reassured me that they would be waking Jeter up and he would be ready to depart with in 30 minutes or so. Sure enough, a short while later Jeter came wobbling out looking a bit dazed, but fine.
$250 lighter and infinitely lighter-hearted, we headed home less than an hour after our arrival. While I no longer will be preparing small marrow bones for Jeter, it is reassuring to know that top-notch emergency veterinarian care is nearby. Also comforting was hearing from the staff that they see this same situation about once a month – and that it’s just about always a Labrador.
Last night I finally got back on the path for my 4th run in the summer series. I swear my skipping a few weeks was completely unrelated to the challenge of Thacher Park! Life has been a bit hectic and I’ve been running later in the evening because of the heat.
It was the second time this year that ARE looped around 5 Rivers, but since I missed the earlier run, it was a first for me. My experience on the beautiful trails at 5 Rivers was limited to a cross-country ski outing a couple of years ago and I was curious to see the area in the full-out lushness of summer. I was not disappointed.
The course we ran melded together a number of different trails. The surface varied between mowed grass, wood chips, dirt, moss and small stones and was sufficiently wide enough in most places for 3 runners to run abreast. Other than an incline in the last half mile or so, the course was fairly flat with a few downhill sections. The views were lovely and it was a real treat to run by the series of small ponds to the welcome chorus of bullfrogs.
The loop we took was approximately 3 miles and I would definitely like to do it again. As always, folks were friendly and the pace was relaxed and comfortable. We’re just beyond the midway point in the series and I’m right on track with my goal of making 50% of the runs. Next week’s course has not yet been determined, but there will be pizza. See you there!