Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Soul Massage at the Tip of Cape Cod

As the Eagles sing in Hotel California, “seeing old friends is good for the soul.” How true those lyrics are … Almost forty years ago, when my son was a toddler, Tamara, age 18, showed up at my door in response to a help-wanted ad for a fille-au-pair. We smiled at each other, startled by having the exact same color hair, a shade of red unusual in France, and I hired her on the spot. The American from Madison, Wisconsin proved a jewel and has remained a friend ever since. Now this adventurous spirit has chosen to leave her editing job at American Girl and set off towards new horizons, with the intention of serving in the Peace Corps. Tamara had never seen our B&B, although she did visit my parents’ old house several times. The changes produced a vigorous thumbs-up.

First Sven and I showed our special guest Duck Harbor at sunset, a sight we always recommend in winter and one of our favorite Wellfleet experiences. The spectacular light made Tamara whip out her camera. I did the same, and we all posed for a round of fun photos. (Sven is holding a sea snail shell.)

Yesterday we went to LeCount Hollow, but the wind whipped white caps across the waves and a walk was out of the question. No problem. Down to Provincetown we sped. “Closed” signs hung in most shop windows and yet Commercial Street pulsed with life, as if a morning giant had sprinkled the buildings with the spiritual equivalent of cayenne pepper to wake everyone up. Here’s what we noticed: a couple of men walking hand in hand, exchanging tender glances; the words “Angels Landing,” written in tiles on a roof; a freshly painted Town Hall, sparkling in the crisp sunshine; a pan of water underneath a water fountain for dogs; some great Victorian architecture; a Toys of Eros sex shop; the South African restaurant Karoo Kafe; a woman, on her way to the post office, striding down the middle of the street in loud conversation on her cell phone. We had lunch at JoMamma’s: superior panini; Espresso for Sven, latté for Tamara, smoothie for me. (JoMamma’s is the café inside Art House, where Hedda Lettuce performs.)

Then our tour took us through the Provincelands, a wild part of the National Seashore, at the tip of Cape Cod, where there's a great bike trail. What an exhilarating view from the deserted Race Point observation deck! The landscape of sand dunes, sapphire ocean, and stunted green pine provides such a soothing contrast to the bustle of Provincetown, even a Provincetown almost empty of tourists. Impossible not to be awed by the beauty of nature. We came away with a sense of peace …

If you had an old friend come to visit, what would you share with him or her? Do you agree that seeing old friends is good for the soul? If so, why?