Last fall, as I began my hunt for a house I could actually afford on Cape Cod, I had a little fantasy of stumbling across some down-on-its-luck, shingled matron of a home, on a bluff overlooking the bay. Of course, once I started getting serious, that fantasy was put away – even the poorest excuse for shelter in such a location was three times more than I’ll likely earn in my lifetime. Beyond that, taxes and insurance would have been astronomical, and then there was the danger that the whole bloody thing could be swept out to sea in a storm. So now I live along the historic Old Kings Highway, about a mile’s walk to a nearby town landing. A lovely setting, but water views are not part of my everyday life.
This changed, however, for an all-too-brief period during this past weekend’s epic rainy spell, when I was able to live my dream of waterfront living. Arriving home Sunday night from a quick weekend jaunt to visit friends in Chicago, I pulled into my driveway to find that the mighty Considine (the drainage ditch that cuts midway through my lot) had overflowed its banks and filled much of my backyard with up to six inches of water. My pair of faux adirondack chairs were sitting on a barely-above-sea-level island, as a bed of nearby irises waved its leaves like marsh grass above high tide.
Apparently that tide was already ebbing from its high-water mark, because a quick trip to the basement showed that the water had actually made it up onto my little parking area and under the garage door. The area of the basement that had been dry after ugly water-heater and washing-machine incidents a couple of weeks ago now rested under about a quarter-inch of water – so did the bottoms of the boxes of books I’d moved over to this previously safe zone. Now I had to relocate those boxes yet again. (The pieces of the shelving unit that might have kept everything high and dry remained unassembled in the corner.) Then I shook myself up a nice, stiff vodka gimlet, looked out over my drowned backyard and thought, “So this is what cocktails on one’s beachfront deck feels like.”
There I sat, boat shoes on the deck railing, martini glass in hand. Wasn’t that a sail boat on the horizon? Did I just see a dolphin break through the waves? And is that some trespassing nincompoop walking his poop-producing dog across my private beach?! I may not have had the plaid pants, but I was beginning to get the attitude down.
But, by early this morning, the waters had receded, leaving a couple small ponds behind (sorta like what the glaciers did when they pulled back). Soon, these, too, will have evaporated or percolated down into the sandy soil, and I’ll be back to living almost a mile from any notable water body. For a few short hours, though, waterfront living was mine, and now I know my tide might return with the next torrential rainfall.
Please don’t tell the assessor, though – he might just have to raise my taxes.