Ponds

For those of you who have been wishing and praying that this correspondent would drop the Cape Cod kick he’s been on, I have a few things to say, such as “lump it.” Or, as I mentioned in my previous story, “sue me.” Be forewarned, though, that if you choose the latter path you’ll soon encounter the legal fury of my attorney, the one and only Harry “I’m gonna git you, sucka!” Hooznext. Harry is a fearsome son of a bitch. The last time he lost a case was before any of us were born.

Ponds. Yeah, that’s what I’m about to write about. Specifically, Cape Cod ponds. Not with the magical descriptive powers or insights that Henry David Thoreau, in the mid-1800s, brought to the subject in his charming book Cape Cod. Rather, with the flabby notions that one would expect from he who in his own mind is a sort of Nature Boy, but whose knowledge of the natural world actually is barely enough to squeeze out a 1,000 or so word essay. But we work with the tools that have been granted us, no? Yes.

Let’s get on with it. Last month my wife Sandy and I spent some time on Cape Cod, a locale where, as I’ve noted previously on these pages, we frolic in and stand in awe of the great outdoors indescribably more than we do back home in suburban Philadelphia. That’s because 97% of the great outdoors has been bulldozed and paved over where we live, whereas on Cape Cod substantial areas of near-undisturbed beauty remain.

A portion of Hawksnest State Park's forest.
A portion of Hawksnest State Park’s forest.

We’ve been coming to Cape Cod since 1998. At first it was The Cape’s waters and coastlines that made us chant “OMG” in unison several times each day. As the years rolled by we started to realize that those waters and sands and marshes weren’t all there was to go gaga over and to commune with. Hey, there were trees! A trillion of them! I mean, within and between its villages, Cape Cod is slathered with woods, many public. And there are several sprawling areas that meet just about anyone’s definition of true forests. And so, to the woodlands we went, skipping hand-in-hand down their trails, dropping bread crumbs behind us and keeping one dominant thread of thought in our minds. To wit: “Holy crap! There’s a ton of poison ivy all over the place! What the f*ck are we doing here?” But we carefully watched where we placed our feet and soldiered on.

Lo and behold, one day in a woody spread we came upon a body of water so pristine and lovely we almost dropped to our knees. It was a pond. A freshwater pond. It sat there demurely, prettily, surrounded by trees small to medium in stature, trees unable to reach towering heights due to The Cape’s less-than-fully-nourishing sandy soils. And small to medium seemed just right, the correct accompaniment to a modestly sized pool of water. Yes, we were smitten. Once again Cape Cod’s elemental beauty had melted us like butter. Pre-Cape Cod we hardly were oblivious to nature’s bounties. But The Cape somehow opened inner windows that allowed us to enjoy the views as we never had before.

Since that fateful day Sandy and I have added pond-seeking to our repertoire of activities on The Cape. Needless to say, the hands of man have surrounded too many ponds with roads and houses that don’t exactly make enchanted experiences out of gazing upon the waters. Yet, a decent number of freshwater ponds remain in unspoiled woodlands. And we’ve worshipped at some of their altars. By the way, if one is to believe what one reads, the end of the latest Ice Age, 12,000 or so years ago, is responsible for The Cape’s freshwater ponds. Retreating glaciers apparently scraped holes in the ground that filled with water and became the ponds we know and love today. And how many freshwater ponds are there? There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the answer. Anywhere from 365 to 1,000 are the numbers thrown around. Whatever, The Cape contains more than a few.

Hawksnest Pond.
Hawksnest Pond.

Sandy and I fell under the spell of a pond one week into our latest Cape trip. We’d seen it, Hawksnest Pond, a few years ago, and decided to refresh beside it again. This pond, and two others, are sheltered within a small forest, Hawksnest State Park, a little-known and little-visited and undeveloped swath of Harwich township. We parked along one of the park’s borders and entered, marching down the park’s wide main trail till Hawksnest Pond materialized. Man, standing on its shores I felt my anxieties begin to slip away. Alas, an hour later all the tensions returned when we exited the forest. Tight as a frigging knot I often tend to be.

Tight doesn’t begin to describe the emotional state that a pond-hunting escapade threw me into two days later. Ballistic is more like it. There Sandy and I were in Nickerson Sate Park, a 1,900 acre forest in Brewster township. Eight freshwater ponds are on the premises, and pine trees and oak trees abound, as they do throughout Cape Cod. Sandy and I have been to Nickerson a few times over the years. This time I was determined to gaze upon its Higgins Pond, which, as far as I could remember, I’d never seen before. But gaze upon it I did not, as Higgins wasn’t visible from the road that supposedly ran near it, and trying to ascertain which forest pathways led to the pond proved to be an exercise in sheer frustration. The park brochure and map? Pretty useless.  Road signs and trail signs clearly pointing to Higgins? Nonexistent. “Where’s Daniel Effing Boone when you need him?” I bellowed, not for the first time in my life. “He’s on his lunch break,” a voice, barely perceptible, answered from far, far away. It figured.

Flax Pond.
Flax Pond.

Smoke pouring out of my ears, I drove back towards the park entrance, deciding to turn onto a road that seemingly had a good chance of leading to Flax Pond, another of Nickerson’s oases. Mercifully it did. Flax Pond wasn’t new to us, but was no less beautiful for that. The pond looked sweet and innocent. Hell, it was sweet and innocent. Quiet blue waters ringed by a chorale of lovely, welcoming trees . . .  not much is better. Almost instantly I felt my diastolic and systolic numbers head southward dramatically. And there they remained for a good while, as memories of the Higgins mini-fiasco evaporated presto. Some days work out just fine.

 

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27 thoughts on “Ponds

  1. Blathering November 2, 2016 / 4:56 am

    I’m not bored of the Cape Cod stories yet, it sounds really beautiful! And it’s quite likely I may never actually get there in real life so it’s great to read about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger November 2, 2016 / 9:23 am

      Hi. Thanks for reading this story. I don’t know yet, but there might be more Cape Cod stories to come in the foreseeable future.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kalison0515 November 2, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Your writing is very engaging. I’ve been to the Cape a thousand times, but only enjoyed the towns and seashore. I didn’t spend time in the wooded parks. I’ll check them out next time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger November 2, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Hi. You might also like the huge section of enormous sand dunes in Truro and Provincetown. Those dunes are a lot of fun to scamper around in, and they are beautiful.

      Like

  3. Joyce November 2, 2016 / 7:54 am

    Really interesting . I have never been to any of the parks you mention. Never saw any of the ponds…..only cranberry bogs. Next time in Hyannis l will have to check it out.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Elizabeth M. Soltan November 2, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Thanks for the mental vacation. Nature is a great anti-depressant….Love the photos, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. vprofy November 2, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    For several years we’ve rented on Pilgrim Pond, last year Arey’s Pond. Both in Orleans. Different but both great vacation spots.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. C. C. Cedras November 2, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    I remember back in the late 1970s (what I remember of the 70s…I killed quite a few brain cells in that decade) making my first trip to Cape Cod and being taken to a “pond” near Cotuit to swim. My experience with ponds prior to that was bodies of water large enough for cattle to stand in and drink — what Texans call a stock tank — but Cape Cod ponds are more like what the rest of the world would call lakes. Pristine, and as you’ve so eloquently described, surrounded by trees and nature where mankind hasn’t intruded too much.

    What a great hobby to go looking for and cataloguing your favorites!

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger November 2, 2016 / 1:46 pm

      Thanks a lot for stopping by. Appreciated.
      You know, I’m more determined than ever to get a look at Higgins Pond (in Nickerson State Park). Next time I’ll have Daniel Boone in tow so that finding it is guaranteed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. lorigreer November 5, 2016 / 11:23 am

    Entertaining and informative post. I enjoy learning about Cape Cod.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. andrewcferguson November 6, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Nice. If you made it over to the UK, you would like the Lake District from the sound of it. Although parts of it are a bit over-touristy, so you might need to watch that blood pressure. Fortunately, they do beer.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christy B November 6, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    At the point when you yelled out “Where’s Daniel Effing Boone when you need him?” I could just imagine that second voice talking back – totally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 7, 2016 / 1:08 pm

      Hi, Christy. Thanks for stopping by.
      One of these days Daniel Boone will be there when someone requires his aid. I think so, anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Aunt Beulah November 7, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    If untrammeled nature is involved, I believe most days do work out just fine, despite our sometimes best efforts to defeat nature’s tranquility. PS: I thought the second paragraph in this entertaining post was almost as perfect as a pond surrounded by pine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 7, 2016 / 3:40 pm

      Thanks, Janet.
      By the way, Thoreau’s Cape Cod book is really good. It’s very lively. I never particularly liked his famous book (Walden), which to me isn’t lively.

      Like

      • Aunt Beulah November 7, 2016 / 3:49 pm

        I agree with your assessment of Walden; and I’ll take a look at his Cape Cod book, because I really wanted to like Walden and didn’t even finish it.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Martin November 12, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I love the fact that you describe something with so much care. These ponds, which look absolutely beautiful, come alive in your writing. It is an interesting choice for a blog post, but the ponds definitely deserve the attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. viewfromoverthehill November 19, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Thanks for taking me to Cape Cod. I’d never been there before and always wanted to visit. I enjoyed my stay with you. Hope I wasn’t too much of a bother. Cheers, Muriel Kauffmann

    Liked by 1 person

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