Samuel Pepys on the beach

Some days I’m little more than the Samuel Pepys of North Cape May, noting the day to day changes along our tiny patch of the Delaware Bay. Pepys’ musing were punctuated by the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. We have COVID and the demise of democracy, but unlike Pepys, I’m sticking to the beach.

This afternoon was about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday, just this side above freezing. The skies were gray, the water steel, and an east breeze kept the waves down. The clouds were threatening rain, and started to spit before the walk ended.

The crab claws were just a couple of feet apart, both awkwardly lovely, blues and purples and reds contrasting with the gray day. The blue crab claw held on to a piece of seaweed, the calico crab claw clutched a strand of grass.

The rest of the crabs are likely in a gull’s gullet, if not already vomited out in a crunchy bolus.

Yesterday’s icy chill painted the jetties with ice, only three months after my last swim in the bay back in October.

Someone else has remembered the warmth as well, leaving her artistry scrawled on the beach, the rising tide slowly erasing her work, a girl dressed for the beach. Next to this was another drawing of Batman–even superheroes need a vacation now and again.

I’m not the only one thinking of warmer days on the bay.

A couple of jetties down has the hull of a sunfish sailboat up on the edge of the grass. It washed up after a storm a couple of years ago, and has been banging around since. It once belonged to someone in Ben Oaks, Maryland. I wrote to the village over a year ago, never heard back.

This hull has been banging around almost two years now.

No whales, no seals, just a few sand pipers and gulls, the detritus of the dead, and me, still breathing–that’s more than enough.

Ben Oaks, come get your boat….

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