Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Happy Birthday

I had a wonderful birthday this year, quiet and happy with some magical moments. The COG and I drove down to Cape Cod to spend the day with the Son of. We picked him up and he took us to a lovely beach in Chatham (picture 1). The picture can't capture the peace and beauty of the spot. It was windy but warm (for the season) and we could see and hear gulls and other birds. I love the sound of gulls and waves and wind.

Then we drove to Fort Hill, in Eastham (second picture). This place was full of delights. The land was farmed from the 1600's to about 1950, when it became part of the National Seashore. It's a wonderful spot with meadows boundaried by low stone walls, then salt marsh, salt ponds and, finally, the sea. There are wonderful vistas and a sea captain's mansion (the mansion in the picture is Capt'n Penniman's house). It's one of those places in the world that have an almost mystical peacefulness. Or maybe it was just the wind and the sea and the sunshine and being with the COG and Son of.

We did a very short walk there, pausing to watch a blue heron fishing (which is just a light speck in a Vee of grass to the left of center of the 3d picture), and then to watch a red-tailed hawk. The COG took much better pictures of the birds due to having an Enormous Lens. You can see his photos on his blog - click here.. Among the magical moments of the day were two surprises here. First, we saw a Mountain Bluebird who was 1,000 miles from her home in the west. She had been spotted earlier in the week - a very rare occurence - much excitement in online bird sites. So there were a number of other bird fanciers around. As Enormous Lenses run in the family, Son of had brought his super-duper spotterscope, so we got to see her close-up in all her soft grey and blue loveliness. Quite exciting.

Then, on the way back to the car, I heard bagpipes playing. I couldn't figure out what it was - someone's phone or a car alarm? But when we got back to the parking lot we saw a man playing bagpipes as he stood overlooking the meadows, saltmarsh, salt pond and ocean. I have a short film of him, which I'll post separately. I talked to him and he told me that he had been coming here for 75 years and he thought it was possibly the most beautiful place on Earth. He lives in Pennsylvania now, so it's harder to get back, but he has made it every year.

But the day wasn't done yet. We then went to another beautiful beach and watched gannets fishing, which was a hoot. They fly low over the water then dive straight down into the water to catch things. We saw several seals - little polka dot heads bobbing in the water quite close to shore. Or maybe that was at another beach, earlier. All the wonderful beaches of the day are kind of merged in my mind.

Anyway, we ended with an interesting ride around a deserted National Seashore park full of sand dunes and finally watched the sun set over a beach near Provincetown (last picture). We ended the day with a birthday meal of Sushi, which was delicious, exotic and not too heavy. Perfect birthday food, in short.

We dropped the Son of back in Wood's Hole, but before we finally left him he had one more treat in store for us. In the center of the bay in Wood's Hole, someone had put a fully lighted Christmas tree in the water at his mooring. So there it was in the darkness, wobbling and bobbing in the water - a fully lighted tree. Just magical.

The only thing that would have made the day more perfect is for the Daughter of to be present as well. But she called me while we were driving down and she texted us a few delightful pictures of the Granddaughter of, so they were there in spirit.

All in all, a magical day.

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