Friday, March 31, 2006

Water Everywhere = Incredible Light

Wellfleet has been enjoying unseasonable warmth for the past few days. All the crocuses and jonquils are pushing their way into the world. The weatherman says Boston will reach 70 today. I doubt it will get that hot here though, because, in spring, Cape Cod does not heat up as quickly. One reason is the fact that we are surrounded by water, and the Atlantic is still 40.

The difference in temperatures will continue throughout the summer. I have even noticed the air to be cooler on the Cape side of the Sagamore Bridge. You cross the canal and bingo, temps drop, sometimes as much as ten degrees.

In winter, living on a peninsula can produce snow flurries, called ocean-effect snow, on days when the mainland remains snow-free.

Being surrounded by water creates a different light environment, one reason the Outer Cape has always attracted artists. When we walk out at Duck Harbor on Cape Cod Bay, I have often noticed how the surface of the water reflects the blue sky. Everything is brighter, more intense. The atmosphere does not smog up the way it does in cities. The clarity makes Cape Cod an ideal location for painting landscapes. Artists recognize this difference. It must be inspiring, like being closer to the Impressionists somehow. Now that is is warmer, easels will soon be popping up all over town.

At Duck Harbor, the tones right before sunset are particularly awesome. Everything seems to glow. Even this dune merits a photo. I wanted to capture the wind-carved village on its flank but was moved by the warm sand instead. Sometimes Sven wonders what I am doing, angling my camera this way and that before each photo. My husband is good enough not to comment, however. He told me how similar the light is here to Skagen, in Denmark, a place I have never been. Skagen also attracts artists, he says.

I just had a call from an artist about booking a room while she is in the area for an exhibit this summer. I was thrilled. Artists develop special qualities, which we value here at Chez Sven. Perhaps because they take the time to really examine the world around them? They see beauty in the most mundane things. What a shame modern society does not encourage more people to develop this gift!