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White Cap

“I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.”

– Mary Oliver, Ocean

I anticipate a white cap day on Buzzards Bay as a Nor’easter rolls through. For now the bay is restless but content to let the rain fall in abundance to its surface instead of rising up to meet it. For the march of thousands of white hats the current and wind must be more contentious than this. It will come in time, as it always does on Buzzards Bay.

Nor’easter days are meant for hunkering down, catching up on reading and sipping hot beverages. On Cape Cod the storm will bring heavy rain and high winds. The salty water will surely rise to greet her fresh visitors. I’m a visitor myself; like a river forever moving between the mountains and the sea. I want to leave the comfort of the warm house to walk on the beach. You don’t come this far to look at it from afar. For I’m mostly water, shouldn’t I rise up to meet it too?

Up in New Hampshire all this water will mean white hats of a different kind, with heavy snow in the mountains and clever swirls of white donning posts and mailboxes in the lower elevations. I’ll welcome the grace of snow-packed trails covering the ankle-breakers when I return to the mountains. Whenever that might be – I really don’t know. But they’ve heard my silent promise to return. We have unfinished business, those mountains and me.

I laugh when I read polls asking where you would want to live forever. How do you choose between the mountains and the sea? Its a Sophie’s Choice question; asking one to pick between a mountain waterfall and the crashing surf. Instead I look to the Abenaki who moved for generations between the White Mountains and ocean fishing villages. They didn’t choose one over the other, they chose a life in between. And that’s where you’ll find me too.

So today as the white caps rise, I’m reminded of the Mary Oliver poem above. I’m on the very edge of that in between for this Nor’easter, and the chop of the storm has begun. Who’s up for a walk?

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