It is the beginning of what looks to be yet another gorgeous day.
Nothing unusual in that, after all it is summer on Cape Cod.
I’m sitting here overlooking one of our pond’s two boat ramps. Apparently I’m not alone in thinking it is going to be a beautiful day.
In the last five minutes I have seen three kayaks being launched, one outboard arrive at the town dock to take on two people and their assorted gear. Also, three prams are being rowed out to their respective ‘motherships.’
So things are happening, as we would hope they might on the promise of a great early summer day.
A closer look at the town dock reveals yet another aquatic steed, scarcely visable, tucked in on the far side, its owner hard at work (if working on your boat is considered hard work) fixing something. Whatever it was, it was quickly repaired as he is now headed down the pond enroute to some wet adventure or other.
I think this is a first post Fourth of July day in 73 years that I have not had a boat in the water and worst yet, it appears as though I am not to be the sole decision maker as to whether I should have a boat in the water.
After a slight miscalculation last year, my boating skills are now somewhat in question. And not just in my spouse’s eye but in her spouse’s eye as well.
The boats out front all have their bows pointing east, a not uncommon pointing, and as a result that slight breeze coming in off the cool ocean has cooled us off nicely and we certainly needed cooling-off.
Here it is a couple of hours later and the kayaks and other boating activities are still in full swing. Indeed, two more kayaks are being unloaded from a pickup truck right now, four more people are off for a very nice paddle, ’down Bay.’
I enjoy kayaking except for one aspect of it. How does one get in or out of the darn things without getting wet? I’ve never been able to figure that out so all my kayaking has been rather dampish. Not bad, even though.
It’s interesting, living in close proximity to a public boat ramp. We see all manner of expertise. It reminds me a little bit of looking at a hooked rug, here a portion of an old jacket, there a fragment of pants that saw us through some years of use. All reminders of past uses, of those garments, past times just as watching the misadventures reminds me so much of my own misadventures at the ramps so long ago.
By watching, observing, the antics at the ramp we also see reminders of our own learning experiences along the way. At this stage in life, in the watching, we can anticipate the missteps that follow in lockstep, with the miscalculations of the eager but still inept novice boaters.
It is a bit like watching a movie that you have seen before and because you know the ending you can more fully appreciate and anticipate the outcome. All the building blocks necessary to become adept at the varied skills so necessary to maneuver a watercraft with some degree of skill.
It is indeed a beautiful day. The wind has swung around to the northeast, the unclouded sky lets the sun blaze with brightness on the sides of the moored boats, all but a few, a sparkling white, a beautiful sight indeed. Easy images to store in the brain.
Now comes a 20 footer, an outboard, into the dock, there is no question that this operator knows his stuff. A smooth landing, an effortless unloading of six passengers and the boat is off again.
Except for the fact I’m not the one doing these things anymore, it is pure pleasure to go vicariously boating. More kayaks and something fairly new to these waters, a paddleboarder, pass slowly by, perusing the shoreline.
Now comes two or three women down the ramp with beach chairs to sunbathe on the dock. What a great treat this town dock is, to visitors and old timers as well.
Come to think of it, it is also a great treat to the old time onlookers as well. Such is a few hours at the town dock.
Pretty soon, a few hours from now, the tired but very happy boaters will be coming back in various stages of sunburn perhaps. Some flopping dinner on the dock, a luckless bass or two that found their lures, maybe a giant inner tube that has been a platform for squealing children being towed at high speed around the Bay.
But what all these folks are all bringing back is that very nice feeling of a day well spent, soul enriching, something we all can use, and here it is - available right at our fingertips.
We are among the luckiest of folks.
Dana Eldridge a former teacher, is the author of three books, "Once Upon Cape Cod," "Cape Cod Lucky" and "A Cape Cod Kinship: Two Centuries, Two Wars, Two Men." He lives in Orleans. Dana’s View appears every other week.