Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Before The Storm [Notebook Entry #2]

Back in June I rented a small home and studio in Wellfleet for the month of November. “The Plan” was to spend half of each day visiting with my parents, and especially with mom whose health was declining, and the other half painting.  And as I should have remembered the universe has its own plan as sadly mom passed in late August. Then not two weeks after returning from her funeral my father fell and then needed surgery and things went downhill quickly for him. So back to the Cape I went. 

I was on Cape for 7 weeks, the last five weeks were spent in the Wellfleet rental which had no TV, no internet yet a very large studio. At the time I made the decision I thought it was just what I needed. I was wrong. I spent most of my time in the hospital, at the rehab center and to help keep me centered I signed up for two artist workshops in Provincetown, one girls weekend and finally began to paint again. My dad, I am happy to report, is doing well and will be moving back to his apartment soon. I am back in Elmira for three days before flying to Florida for the winter. There is no cable here however there is wireless. So instead of listening to the hum of the refrigerator I decided to type up the notes from the workshops and blog about a few of the experiences that took place as I witnessed Fall turn to Winter on the Cape. Hope it makes up for my absence over the past few months. 

Sunday, October 28: Entry #2, Before The Storm

Today I ventured out to get my bearings before the storm. The house is in an enclave of mid-century modern homes just west of town near Chequessett Neck and about two miles from Great Head, Griffin Island and Duck Harbor. Below are photos from these areas quickly snapped by iPhone. While I had been to Wellfleet many times, mainly in summer to shop or visit the pier, I would now have the time to get acquainted with another side of the Cape. I instantly was struck by the dunes, their size and colors and the fact that there were high dunes on the bay side vs the ocean side (the Cape tilts from the ocean to the bay, typically). The beauty was dramatic, the walking trails numerous and the sweet smell of salt water was seeping into my pores. 

Back at the house I was starting to go through tv-withdrawal. Living in Florida through the 2004 hurricanes, I’d grown accustomed to the Weather Channel on 24/7 when a storm was imminent. Now I was just sitting there, a the couch with a nice fire going and the winds were kicking up when all of a sudden I noticed an old amplifier set up on the floor and wondered if it worked. The home is featured frequently in magazines and all of the furnishings are true period pieces. Well, I turned it on and switched it to FM Radio and after some maneuvering of the attached coat hanger I was able to pick up a talk radio station! At last, noise from the outside world! 

That night my lights flickered often and the roof was pelted even harder by those pesky pine cones, acorns and small branches yet by ten o’clock it was over. The local paper showed there was certainly flooding and water damage and some power outages on the Cape but it would be two days before I was able to get in front of a tv to fully grasp the blow that NY, CT and NJ took. I was able to reach my brother who lives in a rent-controlled building for the disabled in Chelsea and learned he was without power or water but thanks to several local organizations he was getting help and was doing well. 

And just as I was feeling a sense of relief I realized a storm of a different kind was brewing as my dad struggled to find purpose in living again and I struggled to learn how to help without going down with the ship...

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