Our first family camping trip brings us to Cape Cod at a state park near Brewster. Everything here on this 65 mile long sand bar is measured by relative distance to exit numbers off of the one highway that runs end to end. “Oh, it’s near exit 10, but I live near exit 7.” This miniature paradise feels cozy and at the same time expansive. With ocean on either side of the arm, it does not take long to drive or even walk to the nearest stretch of sand and salt water. At low tide, a person can disappear on the horizon, walking out onto the wet sand and wading into shallow tidal pools.
I rendezvous with my family at the nearest beach shortly after 4pm when parking without a permit becomes free. Families fly kites. Hobbyists launch remote-controlled airplanes. Children construct elaborate sand fortresses. Older couples lounge in beach chairs and read mystery novels. All is peace and calm.My family arrived ahead of me last night to set up camp. For $15 a night, a family of five with a tent and a few supplies can set up shop and stay as long as there is space available. We come in the middle of the week when there is less demand, but even though it is Wednesday, the camp still is full.
At twilight tonight, we return from the beach to our campsite at the park. A fire pit with grill is prepared with kindling and dry wood. A dinner of fish, potatoes, and grilled corn-on-the-cob is devoured under the light of the full moon and the glowing coals of the campfire. After marsh-mellows are roasted and teeth are brushed, the little ones settle into their shelter beneath the stars, and I sit jotting down words by flashlight. The 60-degree temperature ensures ample comfort as the silence of the spent day reigns.
I am only here for the night and plan to return to Boston tomorrow. Though my time here is limited, I am not sorry for coming. For the calm of just one night on the Cape equals a month of recreation elsewhere. It makes me wonder what two nights would equal in my therapeutic math…