Monday, September 06, 2010


This morning I'm thinking about Cape Cod. I know a lot of people are reflecting on Labor Day, and in particular the lack of labor opportunities available to many in our poor economy. But I am thinking about The Cape, and the continuity it has provided in my life.

I think continuity is important--a place that, no matter what other things change in life: homes, schools, work, people--having at least a singular place that holds fast and sure in the midst of change offers us grounding. Continuity of place provides a link to our past, to our memories, and to our formation. It connects us to sights and smells, creaky doors and familiar paintings that hang on walls.

For the first eighteen years of my life The Cape was Hyannisport, where a cousin had a summer home and where we were invited to come for our vacations. It is where I learned to row a boat, and eventually, by paying attention, to sail. It was during those visits with Mer (as we called her--her initials were MER) that I learned from her how to do needlepoint. It was there that my grandmother taught me to use my right foot on both the accelerator and brake when driving, in the event that I ever drove a car with a standard transmission and needed my left foot for the clutch. It was there that we stood at the edge of the yard overlooking the harbor and watched Marine One fly into the Kennedy Compound when JFK was president.
a favorite picture, not sure why!
When Mer sold the house visits to the Cape shifted to camping expeditions, and then rentals in other locations. Where we lay our heads may have changed, but The Cape was familiar, and any place on it felt like home. Maybe it was the smell of the sea, the sound of wind through the scrub brush, or the prickly stems of beach plums. Maybe it was the architecture, or the constant presence of sand on our feet, or the names of the towns that reflected its lineage to Indian habitations that made it feel like one huge neighborhood. No matter. It is a place that holds a piece of my soul, and where a part of me was set free.

For many years Mom was at The Cape over Labor Day weekend, and when I lived close enough to visit her there I took advantage of that opportunity. Now I revel in memories and fondness, and give thanks that my life held the opportunity to know and enjoy that special place.

What about you. Is there a place of continuity in your life that brings peace to your heart?


The Bug said...

I guess the only place like that for me is just the house I grew up in, where my dad still lives. My grandmother's house was up the street all growing up. Now her house is gone, but two aunts & my brother live on the same street - it's sort of a Wallace family compound.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

The best fabric shop ever is in Hyannis. I'd love to be there now!

Jayne said...

Had to be my grandparents house in Knoxville. When they both left us, my uncle lived there for a while, then we lost him as well. Now my cousin (his son) lives there with his family. Not sure I ever want to go back though. It just would not be the same, at all...

Mompriest said...

the city of my birth, Salt Lake City, and the mountains that surround it. Life is always full of changes, and we do need anchors.


Related Posts with Thumbnails