Then, the traffic broke, we moved forward again. Soon we could see the gleaming arch of the Sagamore bridge, gateway to Cape Cod.
Somewhere along the apex of the bridge a minor miracle happened. All the tension I'd been carrying left the spot it occupied along the back of my neck and tumbled down past the rails into the vein of blue water below. Cape Cod always seems to have this effect on me. On Jim, too. It's why we come, for a few days, for a week, to lay back and let the world roll on without us for a while.
Soon, we were at a favorite haunt, Rock Harbor in Orleans. The tide was low, the sandbars stretching for a what seemed like a forever distance. We walked the line of funky trees that mark the way into the harbor, a half mile line of pines stuck out in the sand, uncovered now to be immersed in salt water again in six hours time. A breeze swept over the bay and beach, rustling the beach grass and cooling the late summer heat. In the water between sandbars, minnows tickled our ankles.
We did all the requisite things, ate fried clams and ice cream, went to the wide open beach at Nauset and watched seals dip and dive in the cold water, shopped at our favorite t-shirt emporium. Mostly, we hit the pause button, found a time out from all the stresses of day to day life.
If I could, I would put those Cape moments into a big blue box and keep it with me here in the garret. I'd open it now and again to remind myself to take a deep breath, pause and remember the endless blue sky, the feeling of calm, the way stress can fall to the ocean and dissolve into the salt.