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Closed For the Season

November 6, 2014

par tee freezeGrowing up on Cape Cod it was an altogether familiar sight to see signs on storefront windows after Labor Day that read, “Thanks for a great season!” and “See you next summer!” In the fall, summer homes, especially the ones along the shoreline, board up their windows. Trees shed their leaves, exposing bare branches, as tourists head back over the bridge, leaving Cape Codders alone at last to prepare for a long winter.

As a teenager, these changes didn’t bother me. Truth is I’m not sure I even noticed. Wrapped up in school and sports and friends, I was too busy to admire the pink and orange sunsets dissolving into the ocean. However, after college, living at home for a short time before embarking into the “real world,” all I did was notice. It was a strange and auspicious period, stuck between childhood and adulthood, and those days, accentuated by the bareness of a cold, dark, endless winter, were like one long Sunday. For someone so programmed to be “doing,” it was hard to be still.

melody tentNow years later, I return to the Cape every chance I get. Sure summer is great, but I have come to appreciate its end. Have come to love autumn and the colors and the smell of the air. But so too, does winter, with it’s harsh winds, have a soft spot in my heart. There is nothing like a walk along the beach, bundled up in so many layers only your eyes are showing. And though evening arrives too soon, the days are brighter thanks to the reflection off the water.

Now when I am on Cape Cod and pass those closed up ice cream shops and mini golf ranges, I understand the silence within, as though after working hard all summer they deserve this time off. Sure there are storeowners who work as hard in the off-season, repainting and preparing for next summer, for it’s a cycle, like the seasons themselves, but after all these years I’ve come to appreciate the off-season as it offers a kind of respite and permission to slow down. It doesn’t mean you stop tackling projects (winter is a great opportunity for indoor tasks), but the tempo need not be as rushed. I admit it’s a pace I am still learning to follow, but one I have come to respect.


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  1. Closed for the season, that s what the campground is, yet we live here and I too love the quietness of the country minus all the noise from campers. To us it means haveing the roads to ourselves as we take that golf cart ride. And watching to see. If the deer will now come up into the back and let us catch a glimpse of them. I have never been to cap cod, but think I would dearly love to visit one day! As we slow down for winter, I hope to do a few projects of sewing, knitting and reading and still stay in touch with my church family. Country life, so different from when we lived in the city, and I am truely enjoying it. Hope you have a great winter!

  2. Jamie Bart permalink

    One of these days I have to go to the Cape off season.

  3. Joe F permalink

    What a great feeling you passed on to me. I’m very acquainted with your observations of the closing down of the activity that has now passed and is now pausing for a rest and hibernation. Great blog as usual.

  4. Richard Aberson permalink

    I sure do like Autumn, but ain’t got no soft spot for Winter or even winter sports. The closest I want to get to it is watching the the winter Olympics on TV.

  5. Eddie McGarry permalink

    Hey,Great piece! I was always hyper aware of the season changes,my Dad always pointed them out to us.I love each one as they have their own specialness.Now as I am older it seem that time goes by so fast,It helps me compartmentalize winter.. Marking time so it does not become a never ending season.. Thanks for the great piece of writing.


    Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 13:10:32 +0000 To:

  6. Ali permalink

    You captured the feel of “off Season” very well… except the Cape has grown so much that even in the winter we have ‘rush hour’! But you’re so right on about the slower pace….i love that!

  7. Yes, hard to avoid the rush hour…unless you know back roads!

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