As I’ve been learning since my move to the Cape two months ago, this region has its share of issues. The term “affordable housing” is an oxymoron here, rabies has invaded from the mainland and a tiny little creature may be munching its way through our salt marshes. In addition, scientists have recently discovered that the hot air released in the increasingly vociferous wind-farm debates is, itself, a greenhouse gas, which is now threatening to advance global-warming problems at a highly accelerated pace.
So, to help myself get back in touch with why I actually moved here, I took an afternoon’s sabbatical during yesterday’s idyllic sunshine, dragged my bike out of the garage, filled up the tires and headed out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I’ve got to say, despite all the travails facing this extended spit, when the Cape gets something right, it really gets it right. I wandered through woods and alongside a salt marsh, riding as easily as if on a (occasionally potholed) city street. What an amazing resource – and I only made it as far as Orleans Center. I’m already looking forward to a trek out to Wellfleet.
On the way back, I checked out another jewel I’d previously overlooked – Nickerson State Park. O.k., now Massachusetts might really suck at health insurance, but it sure runs a mean state park. What a great place. The bike trails are wonderfully maintained (and seemingly most of the park is back in shape after last winter’s storm), and there are several really pretty little kettle ponds that had me itching for a kayak. (Please don’t sic the rangers on me for admitting this, but I even took a quick skinny dip in one and said hello to some extremely friendly fish.)
I made it back to my house exhausted and smiling. I suppose athletes would call what I felt an endorphin high, but, to me, what I felt was like a joyful reunion with a long-absent friend. I just wanted to stop strangers on 6A to say, “do you know, this place where we live is really amazing!”
So the next time the Cape Cod Times headlines have you imagining wind-turbine blades as politician-whacking samurai swords, and rabies fears have you locking your animals into air-tight containers for the night, head for a bike trail or beach or still-existent salt marsh. Walk through a wooded grove or spot some birds worth spotting. The problems here on the Cape aren’t all that different from the issues facing others throughout the state, across the country and around the globe. But the places we have to get away from those problems are truly unique.