The Experience of Tranquility in Cape Cod
29 Jul 2012
This was my first trip to Cape Cod. I went there with my amazing husband and his wonderful, hospitable family who are now my family too. We stayed at a spacious, cozy rental in one of Cape Cod's many towns.
Our short vacation turned into an experience of tranquility and beauty. The rental house was situated in the woods that hosted fragrant pine trees and luscious leafy trees, various shrubs, flowers, and many other types of plant life. There were other houses that peeked through the trees as we walked in the sun-soaked shade of the woods, there were little meadows and marshes, and a path along the bay.
Our house was situated mere feet away from a lake. A grey wooden deck with lounge chairs and wired tables led to the pool, after which there was a wooden fence followed by a small marsh that was all tall, green grass and water and then - the lake.
Every morning and night, I sat on the deck gazing into the depth of nature that spread so trustingly (and yet mysteriously) before me - sometimes with my husband, other times with our entire group, and on occasion, alone. I sat there inhaling the intoxicating freshness of the lake and the woods, feeling my entire self being purified as worries and general tension that you don't realize you have until they are gone silently and obediently dissipated. My body, mind and soul were becoming one with the quiet of the surroundings, with the aging wood of the deck, with the tiny storage house by the pool that hosted on its walls buoys, an old lifesaver, and a myriad of other odd, rusty, beautiful objects - all silent and yet speaking their own language of past experience and tranquility. The feeling of being united with nature and objects around me was at once overwhelming and calming, along with the beauty of the surroundings it made for surreal experience. I almost had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming, to make sure I was not in a beautiful dream of an impressionist painter.
The house itself was filled with antique objects most of which were related to nautical life: there were old sea clocks, lifesavers, binnacles, shells of varying shapes and sizes; there were stumps of birch trees cozily placed in old wired baskets that sat near the rental's two fireplaces, antique metal objects that had no name or practical purpose in the house: The owner collected antiques. I am so glad she did. I loved just walking around the house in the afternoon or early evening when our group had separated for different activities or were resting after an earlier activity in one of the house's many rooms, and it was just me and this gorgeous, warm space. Everything was silent and yet it was speaking to me. The objects were still and presumably soul-less and yet they had an insight into the mystery of life and the universe - partially, they were that mystery.
When a house is located right in the womb of nature, it becomes its continuation, you are not ensconced in the walls, and how and why would you be when the house's two living rooms merge with the deck through a half-open glass wall-window, when the trees, the lake and the sky are all around you. .
During the week that we spent in Cape Cod, we took countless walks in the woods, we drove to the ocean to look at sunset and visited neighboring towns. One of our favorite activities however was swimming and kayaking in the lake. I have always preferred still water to oceans. The lake we swam in was not the same one that spread before the deck in front of our house. It was separated from the house by a fifteen minute walk which in itself was an experience of beauty and tranquility. We had to follow a trail that nested between the myriad of pine and leafy trees and then a road that ran between the woods and other, seldom, houses, and a bay that hosted boats, little decks and the abyss of pure, blue water.
On the evening before our departure I went to the lake with my husband and a friend who had also been invited to stay in the house. We swam in the still, silky smooth water and then we boarded our kayaks...
It was now after eight, the quiet and tranquility were overwhelming. There were no people around, just us. The sun had sat sometime ago, but the rapidly darkening sky still carried the pink blotches and emanated divine glow, the electricity of heaven. The ocean was dark and still, reflecting the sky in full and thus making the world around us endless and bottomless. But as tranquil as the evening lake and the woods were, they were also filled with sounds, life and mystery of a wholesome, non-eerie kind: The insects, the night birds, the night summer breeze that ran through the tree crowns - everything joined in a continuous, harmonious song.
We paddled for a few minutes and then we rested our paddles, letting the lake's faint current take us in its natural direction, letting the water and the woods speak to us. We sat in the kayak looking around, at the calm, bottomless lake and into the sky.
It was precisely the moment when your soul and mind rejuvenate and reach the state of utter calm, when you touch the center of your own self and the universe, when the mystery of the world, although now even more incomprehensible, leaves you happy and tranquil and not disoriented as it would in an Ingmar Bergman's film.
I didn't want to leave Cape Cod so soon. But it was good to know that we were coming back next summer and possibly even this fall. I hold my breath waiting to come back in time for the nature's most precious spectacle – the foliage - to observe it, to unite with it and of course to take photographs.