Winter walks in Cotuit

I walked most of the eastern shoreline of Cotuit yesterday, breaking the hike into three sections. One at 7 am. One at lunch, and the last in the late afternoon around sunset. All told I covered six and half miles of mostly sand, with some Main Street pavement mixed in. The dogs accompanied me for half of the distance, their favorite thing in the world is a beach walk. Indeed, all I have to say to them is “Do you want to …..?” and they start bouncing off the furniture and assault each other in anticipation.

The new camera is a nice thing to bring along, especially its high definition video capabilities. I find myself very fond these days of Flickr’s video hosting for two reasons: the Flickr uploader application bundles the videos on the camera up with the still pictures so I don’t need to upload stills to one place and videos to YouTube; and second, Flickr is not normally blocked in China or Turkey — two places where YouTube is dead.

First, a video of some Canada Geese exploding off of the marsh when I surprised them at Handy’s Point. Good thing Captain Sullenberger was not on the ascent in the neighborhood.

[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/churbuck/4362521806/[/flickrvideo]

I started at the town dock right at sunset — which at the start of this week at this latitude is 5:15 pm. By Sunday it will be 5:31 — so we’re gaining two minutes of daylight every day now. There’s still ice in the harbor — it comes and goes depending on the wind and temperature. This sheet stuck against the town dock makes an interesting ringing sound as the waves wrinkle underneath it.

Then along the beach to Lowell’s Point. Above is the abandoned home of the former president of Harvard, Abbot Lawrence Lowell, also known as the arbitrator in the Sacco-Vanzetti case early in the last century.  The cement sea wall and old wooden groins are disintegrating.

Then along the shore to the boat ramp at the foot of Old Shore Road, where this old sign warns people not to anchor on the submarine cable that runs across the bottom of the bay to Grand Island.

My father always advised setting the mooring of the family boats to the south of the cable, in the belief that in a blow they would drag through the black mud and fetch up and hook onto the cable. So much for warning signs. I think the old man was right though. Stay to the south of the cable.

Then around the fresh water springs at Hooper’s Landing where Conrad Geyser proves the best use for an O’Day Daysailor is to be reborn as a clamming catamaran named the Thermoplayae.

The rest of the walk is smooth sailing down the broad sands of the yacht club beach to Handy’s Point. Ducks cruise along, the winter sticks on the moorings look like crosses in a military cemetery, and critters rustle in the underbrush under the bluff. The dogs get freaked out by something at the same place along the beach. I think a coyote must have killed something there  because they sniff at the spot and then cling to me like something bad is going to happen.

Handy’s Point is where my great-great-grandmother used to live, before she sold the place to be closer to the village in the winter. Can’t blame her, husband at sea, infants, big drafty house on the beach. Her descendants may wish for the view, but the salty old timers wanted nothing to do with the beach. That’s where bad things happened during storms and where the lower class clammers and watermen made their livings.

I find myself needing beach time more this time of year than the middle of summer. It’s just me and the dogs and no pissed off waterfront property owners, few ticks, and a vacant harbor to gaze out on.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

4 thoughts on “Winter walks in Cotuit”

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