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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Peter Newton


In August, the place is packed with out-of-state plates, high-end models, people who can afford second homes on or near the ocean. A resort mentality is creeping inland encroaching on whatever old Cape Cod remains. There's a manicured sameness to the place. Hedges older than I am and better dressed. Bleached white starfish garnish the window boxes of shops and houses alike.

Privilege. It's a strange word really. It can mean an honor to do something. It can mean the right to do something. I remember my grandmother's reasons for settling down here among the dunes near the salt marsh. In her tiny cottage with its brick path we dug in by hand she told me how she loved falling asleep listening to the foghorn's seven-second delay. She said the Cape reminded her of Ireland. Its morning mist. Its salt air. Its off-the-beaten pathness. You have to want to be here. How we all loved falling asleep to the foghorn. And what a privilege to wake listening to the gulls complain about the heat.

Or are they singing the only way they know how.

summer's end
the give and take
of sand and sea