Nauset Light stands sentinel over the sleepless Atlantic slowly eating away at the ground between them.
Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, not quite halfway up the outer part of the arm of the Cape. The dark colored surfaces in the sand are the remnants of a cedar swamp that was swallowed by sand dunes when the shoreline was a seven to eight hundred feet farther out. I decided to do a long exposure shot to document the ways the water crashes and streams off the compressed peat. This is no mushy marsh peat. This is compressed and close to being sandstone. Yet within the peat are stumps and roots of trees that lived hundreds of years ago perhaps.
Waves crash against the remains of a long buried, recently-exposed cedar swam at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham
This photo represents the way people build up from the wreckage and create something new in which to participated in and enjoy. Yet in the distance, angry, strong waves roar out their intent.
The lobster trap represents the cage of the world's demands and the weight of our times dashed by the action of the sea. The people in the distance represent escape and freedom, the resilience to move forward from troubled times.
Lastly, this is the Wellfleet Beachcomber, a summer nightspot well known on the Cape. In 2017 and 2018, the dune face on which the parking lot sits had partial collapses. With a 3' - 5' loss to the dunes every year, the "'Coma" has five to ten years left. On the left side of the frame is the accessway down the dune to the beach below. There was a dead seal (not pictured) washed up on a tide, and a seagull was picking the wound. I was very intrigued. Another seal was in the water, staying in the vicinity. I don't know if there is a relationship there, but I decided there was. I liked this angle because it shows the road into the parking lot where the next stop is 50' below. The parking lot used to be three times this size. It felt to me as if the building was slowly sliding downhill toward its demise.
In the past decade, considerable private effort has been made to support the bayside shoreline where houses dot the dunes. This small one is right on the beach itself. On the front, it's got it's own wooden sea wall like an apron protecting it from unexpected splashes.
Waves batter the shoreline looking for purchase, but it is the rare storm that gives them the energy they need to carry the water over. In an instant, the inland marsh is gone. Covered over by the dunes that once protected them. Perhaps in another century this break will be further eroded, and the ocean will join with the Pamet River just on the other side of the remaining marsh. The far outer Cape will become an island.
Once upon a time, this was a through street that drove along a row of beach bungalows and a vacation hot spot called Ball's Town. Now it fades into the dune as the land the cottages sat on was consumed by the Atlantic years before.
The vastness of Nauset Marsh lays at sea level for miles set between two current hot spots of coastal erosion. This broad marsh stands between the Atlantic and the land as a buffer far better than mankind could ever create. Marshlands also have many other beneficial aspects including cleaning runoff, providing habitats for young fish, and being home to many insects creating a vast buffet for birds and other wildlife.
Exit this way. The traffic pattern of this parking lot was much changed to reconstruct the dune that was nearly completely destroyed by a strong coastal storm.
The best that we can do on a human scale with forces persistent and ever-present is to throw up our small barriers and rebuild dunes meant to protect the shoreline. Atop the chemin du ronde, the sand fence stands as a battlement knocking down sand grains, so they fall and collect at the base.