Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Ease and Interlude

Out at the tip of Sandy Neck, a coastal barrier beach whose duck-bill tip dips into Barnstable Harbor on the north side of Cape Cod, one can anchor a boat at low tide and walk long stretches of sandy, rippled tidal flat. This gorgeous and well protected stretch of Cape coastline is the result of thousands of years of littoral drift, that began as swept sands collecting around a small nub.

The tide charts tell us when to set out to the tip and when to return. The sun tells us the time of day. And I wonder what these warm New England months would be like had I the luxury of designing my entire summer by tidal charts and sun... 

If I didn't pick up pen and paper all summer long... 

What I might be learning through a quiet, sunny osmosis of these slowed weeks without trying to analyze everything I absorb, like the restoration of St. Peter's Church in Osterville—where my husband and I were married—which includes a raising of the structure to accommodate a real foundation (so I was told by a construction worker, as I drove the children past the chapel that sits, teeters actually, alongside Nantucket Sound).

Photo courtesy of the Gallery--St. Peter's Church
Is everything significant?

I think not. But then, I wonder.

Along the intertidal zone at the crest of Sandy Neck, Max and his young cousin dig a trench and construct a hermit crab hotel. They muse over the small, leggy creatures, explaining that they need to protect the crabs, keep the family together. But they know when the tide shifts the crabs will scatter beyond the hotel, abandoning their fabricated home. They know, even, that as the crabs grow larger, they will eventually abandon their own borrowed shell in search of a roomier one. Yet Max and his cousin do their best to protect them while they can.

It is August. In three weeks the children will return to school and all the harried scheduling that goes along with the same. Summer is short and my boy and girl are getting older. The sands continue to spread. Many waters wait to be explored. And so...

For the next few weeks of this warm interval, I'm going to take a much needed sabbatical—a hiatus from the Friday Night Frolic and other self-imposed blogging demands—to explore more of New England, including what's here at home, with my ever growing children. It won't be long before they shed their shells and inhabit an alien framework. 

And while it may not be feasible to live by the sun, or even the moon, or the tide, and whatever they may bring, I think it may be viable (if not advisable) to utilize these remaining summer days, which have been so unusually beautiful—almost like days borrowed from a tropical land—for the purpose of shoring up the foundation, and enjoying the little muses while they are still little muses.

I'll be back, though, come late August—or sooner, as I'm sure to return to the grid periodically to see what's going on here and with you. Until then, my friends, enjoy this splendid summer.

* - Photo taken from my iPhone (yes, I dumped the android!).

62 comments:

  1. Well dang! I come back and you go on vacation. You deserve it and have a day for me. I loved New England when I visited. :)

    See you in 3 weeks.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  2. Jayne, Jayne, what a glorious piece of writing. How lovely your spirit shines through every line. I know Sandy Neck very well, I know the church in Centerville, and you've given us such a vision of long, lazy summer days, and that slight nag of school about to start, and the deeper, slower not-quite-grief of knowing, like this precious summer, and the children's attention to the crabs, that your boy and girl will grow, sooner than you would choose, beyond your reach and all these gorgeous summer days into lives of their own. But that's not for today. Today is for long walks along the tide-rippled sand, contemplating, thinking nothing but soaking up the sun, the tang of salt and the eternal movement of the tide, knowing all is happening in its own time and as it should. All blessings on you and your family, Jayne. Enjoy the time without paper and pen, and just BE. xo

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  3. Jayne, you are such a wonder, with your awesome words....

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  4. Stay awesome, Jayne, and I'll "see" you (or at least your words) when you get back. Enjoy those kiddos...it goes too, too quickly.

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  5. have an excellent adventure

    Will I see you in September
    Or lose you to a summer love.......

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  6. Jules- You're back! I won't be gone long. Just time enough to enjoy more days at the lake in Maine, and then preparing for big return to school.

    What I love best about New England is the seasons. Change as change should be. ;)

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  7. I loved Billy Pilgrim's comment, didn't you?

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  8. Vespersparrow- I've thought of you by your marsh and how peaceful that must be year round.

    As my children move into and through teenhood, trying on various cloaks and veils, it seems that the rate of change is accelerated. I know them well one day, and the next, they've become someone else. And then, there's always the inevitable regression with each few steps forward. They are hesitant, as well. It's such a fine dance.

    And you are right, today is to be enjoyed without worry of what may not always be, knowing it will be all right. I know I've been writing a lot about slowing down and paying attention lately, but I rarely ever do it. It's time. :)

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  9. Nessa- Honestly, I don't ever, ever feel like much of a wonder. So, you make me smile. :-)

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  10. DB- Much too quickly. Watch that little one... it's a flash!

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  11. BP- Ha! Well, actually, I have several summer loves... but you won't lose me to any of them. Scouts honor. ;)

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  12. Nance- That Billy never fails to make me laugh. Don't we all need a good laugh right now, eh?

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  13. Have a wonderful time. Judging by this post, you already are.:)

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  14. Antares- I'll do my best! ;)

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  15. Enjoy the summer and your children. We'll all still be here when you return. I love this post. I haven't been to New England in a few years, and this makes me want to go back for a visit.

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  16. "And while it may not be feasible to live by the sun and the moon and the tide, and whatever they may bring"

    Oh, wouldn't it be lovely if we could. All the time. Easily, I get used to it.

    Enjoy the days, your kids and keep your pen in hand.

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  17. Carol- Thank you--let me know when you're in town! ;)

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  18. MJH- Truth be told, I'm lost without my mighty pen, so, I shall take your advice to heart. Though, more than anything else (other than spending time with my kids) I'd love to get more reading done. :-)

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  19. So I've been trying to think of how to respond to this impending absence, or just to your announcement of it. And realized that if I pondered long enough, my silence would outlast yours. :)

    The Interwebs are so full of chatter and commotion that when someone announces (on the Interwebs!) that she is "going dark," it sounds like she's speaking in tongues. The rest of us sort of stand around in a circle, looking at the form writhing about on the floor, her mouth foaming, and wonder just what the hell she could possibly be trying to say, and sorta-kinda wish at the same time that it were us.

    "Is everything significant?" is one of my favorite questions of all time.

    You know we'll be glad to see you when you re-appear, wherever and under whatever circumstances. Dare I say, do pick up pen and paper (if not keyboard). Enjoy the time.

    (Just -- haha -- don't enjoy it too much.)

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  20. I'd always heard that a church is upheld by faith. Now I see it's really just a bunch of rickety wooden crates. Alas, looks like a fun adventure nonetheless!

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  21. Ahhhhh, I so enjoy these sojourns you take us on! Yes, soak up these summer days spent with your growing children, and lay down those lasting memories for posterity, as you say, time is so very short, and you are wise to savour and devour every single drop.

    What a curiousity that building is, it looks to be defying the laws of gravity, so precariously balanced as it is!

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  22. Ah Jayne, you have chosen wisely. It’s been years since I walked the beaches of Cape Cod with its briny breezes and quaint charm. I miss them terribly. As you walk, think of me at least one time, and deliver a greeting for me to my homeland. I’m sure you will return refreshed and full of expression. Enjoy.
    Peace & Blessings,
    Leah

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  23. I start work again this week, and I wonder if I've enjoyed the summer with my girls as much as I should have. I think I have, but can we ever escape the feeing that we could have done more, could have used our time more wisely?

    As usual Jayne, you've got me thinking. Enjoy those little muses, every minute with them is significant.

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  24. JES- I have to admit that it did feel weird making that announcement. Or is it pronouncement? Because I felt like I really couldn't pronounce what I wanted to announce as I wrote this piece. So, "...the form writhing about on the floor, her mouth foaming..." is a great analogy!

    After I published this post I read it to my children and their response was "Woohoo! Mom, you're really taking a break? You mean you're not going to take your computer up to Maine?!" Which only confirmed that I was doing the right thing. Of course, we're not yet in Maine, so I am still on the computer, but certainly not spending as much time here.

    (I fear that I will be remembered as the MACmom, the one who had a laptop attached to her hip, rather than a downy cub--so, the break is probably a good idea, huh?)

    Much to do before the start of school, but no doubt you'll be seeing me pop up here and there. I still have to read, you know. ;)

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  25. Beer- Aha! You've discovered the truth! Mighty rickety, all right. ;)

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  26. Leah- I'm ever so happy to deliver your message! I'm going to find the perfect spot along the ocean side.
    I'm guessing you're back from the West Coast now... I'll be paying you a visit. Hope you had a wonderful trip! :-)

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  27. Tim- Now I know you've been enjoying the summer with your girls. But you're right, we do always question ourselves as parents... have we done enough?

    All I know is that my kids get a helluva lot more attention than I ever got from my parents (who had six children, after all--on a teacher's budget). And I got what I needed from my parents. But I have only two babes. Just two to whom I may lavish attention. And I always wonder if it's not only enough, but whether it's quality, whether it's the right kind of memory making, was there something missed... Yet I know, I do, that my children have what they need. And more.

    And based on knowing you from your thoughtful postings, I'll bet yours do to. ;)

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  28. Shrinky- That little chapel... sort of like life itself, eh?

    I'm making my own little version of an island here with the kids. (Wish I had a real one like yours!) :-)

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  29. It certainly sounds like a beautiful area. Enjoy your time with the kids as they do grow so quickly. My oldest just graduated high school and my youngest turns 4 next week. It is amazing how fast the time seems to go past, when your not looking.

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  30. Jayne, thank you so much for visiting the Society and leaving a note. I don't say that as a "normal and socially proper" gratuity. I say that because if you hadn't, I never would have discovered your beautiful writing.

    My gawd, girl. You can sing.

    Consider me a follower. I impatiently wait until the songbird returns from its respite to bless this aviary, which most . call the blogosphere, with its presence.

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  31. Beautiful post, Jayne! My second oldest is joining her brother at college this year. I cannot believe how fast time travels, how quickly they shed their shells and grow beyond us. When I'm feeling sad about the sands of time, I remember Maya Angelou's quote: "You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right."

    Enjoy the last days of summer!

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  32. enjoy your holidays...i always find if we're away from the daily treadmill, there's space for new thoughts and we should allow them to flow and maybe things and priorities are changing... love the pic of the church as well..

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  33. I am impressed you found a way to incorporate "littoral" into your blog. Seriously, I'd love to see the east coast sometime, it looks lovely.

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  34. Jackie- Wow--that's like two families. Nice to have younger ones at home when older ones are leaving the nest. It was like that in my family.
    Thanks much for stopping by!

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  35. Bryce- I do love to sing in this vibrant and variegated aviary! Thanks so much for your kind words and support. I'll be seeing you soon. ;)

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  36. Kaira- Angelou--love that woman's writings, such wise words. We still miss those babes, though, when they fly the coop!

    It was so nice to meet you on the Cape, and thanks much for stopping by here. I'm reading your book this week... ;)

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  37. Loree- Thank you, and thanks for joining the conversation! :-)

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  38. Claudia- You said it! Boy I do need to clear space for those thoughts. That church is the prettiest little church around. Fond memories... ;-)

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  39. Robert- Ya, I would have liked to work in "literal" with "littoral" (literally littoral?) but it just wasn't happening that day. I was literally blocked by littoris? No, that's just wrong.

    Let me know when you decide to visit out here... I'd be happy to give you a tour of our beautiful coastline!

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  40. Love the pics! May you have a great holiday!

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  41. that photo is incredible!
    enjoy your time off, we'll be here when you get back. :)

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Sorry about that-technical difficulties.

    You may be on hiatus already, but I just wanted to let you know that I have an award for you on my latest post. Don't feel obligated, just a way of saying keep up the great work (when you come back of course).

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  44. Good for you, taking a break. Love the children, I say.

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  45. Don't analyze. Just live the moment. Later you can relive it, on paper--.

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  46. ohhhh....all good...terrific pic accompanied by gorgeous words....i'll be putting cape cod on my list of places to go...im getting up to page two of my world domination tour hehehe..
    i often wonder about cape cod...are there still cod(s) there???
    Anyway humorous asides aside, enjoy the sabbatical and get back and entertain us all with your ever evolving and constantly improving writing....you are a force to be reckoned with...and yes it is time i started back again, im missing stringing words/phrases/thoughts together ;)

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  47. There could be no better way to spend finite time. My motto seems to have become, Let the day tell me...And the days do tell us. So do the hermit crabs and the tides and our children's unspoken wishes. To glorious August. xo

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  48. beautiful escape, i need something similar...enjoy just breathing it all in, that's what it's all about

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  49. Enjoy shoring up the foundation, Jayne. All of us mothers need to be reminded to do that before our little hermit crabs do indeed "inhabit an alien framework". It makes me bluesy just to think of it, and to know I have so much trouble balancing time between my children, my husband, my housework and my writing already.

    Beautiful, beautiful.

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  50. I too am a displaced (misplaced?) urbanite, from NYC, t the suburbs of LI, once I married and have children. Blogging helps to bring me back to the me I remember before all my responsibilites towards others: two boys, husband, and ailing mother. I empathize! new follower here, hope you can visit my blog.

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  51. Thanks, Jayne, for your comment on "feeding the fish" -- glad you can relate! Most people I think do, except I had one comment by someone who so admires pristine houses (maybe she has one), and thinks it's really admirable. I don't think she'd be comfortable visiting here, at least not on my couch littered with cookie crumbs.

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  52. My apologies for the delay in getting back to several of you who left comments after I hopped off the grid!
    And hello to those of you who are now following along and joining the conversation. I'll be visiting everyone soon...

    Eileen- Thanks for stopping by!

    Id- Thanks, always, for you support. ;)

    Tim- Thanks much. I'll be paying you a visit soon--this has been the longest hiatus I've ever taken--on or off the grid. ;)

    Me- :-)

    Anita- While they're still children, yes! How soon they start to resemble something less than children. Oh, I'll still love 'em anyway. ;)

    Stephen- Thanks again!

    Angela- Sweet and wise... hmmm, I wonder if my children would think so!

    Dan- Put Cape Cod on your list, but only if you visit me while you're out here! I'm glad to see you back, reincarnate, however you may be (very well, I hope), stringing it all together. ;)

    Marylinn- And what a fine motto. The day really does tell us, now doesn't it. Sometimes I wish it would tell us at the very beginning. :)

    EcoGrrl- I hope you find that escape. Does a world of good. And it's nice when you're found again. ;)

    Hillary- It was a wonderful sabbatical. But the balancing act: I don't believe in it. Often, the weight is tilted to one side. Sometimes things topple. Hard. But mostly they drop off quietly and return with a louder voice. That's when we pay attention again. ;)

    Adrian- :-)

    Sandra- Hello. So nice to meet you and have you joining in the conversation here. Blogging can be many things. I'm glad it brings you that sense of self that we often lose as mothers. It helps me that way, too. And while I'm writing, I'm often reminded of how fulfilling being a mother is (which is oftentimes lost among all those motherly demands).

    I enjoy your weaving--of fabric and stories! :)

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