Day Two: So Much Water

June 7


The trees are different in New York. The forests on each side of the interstate are lighter, thinner, less honeysuckled than back home. There are vineyards, windmills, pines… and a sign that read:

“Correction Facility — Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers.”

Then, there were the Falls.

I’m sitting here, trying to work up the nerve to fit 680,000 gallons of water onto a journal page. But there was too much of it. So much water and color. The wind hit my eardrums as I stood with a crowd at the railing, mist moving over us in sheets. 

The river fell over the stones, and if I followed a white cap with my eyes, it slowed, rose to the edge, dove, and dissolved into an abyss of white rain.

Bridal Veil Falls was “smaller” (another scanty word) but it let us look straight down to where water burst on the rocks and made rainbows. The winds were strong, smelling like fish, and they nearly blew away one Amish women’s bonnet.

Still hours away from Stockbridge, feeling a good weariness. Is it true you used to drive this in one stint?



From: L.C. Melton

Oh, I am so glad to get your email.

Indeed, we would leave Union right after Commencement around 9:30 P.M. and arrive at Tanglewood in the Berkshires the next evening, in time to watch the sunset and settle into our room for sleep.

I’m glad you noticed the vegetational changes along the way.  One year, I drove from Maine to California in a single trip alone. The vegetational changes across the continent were fantastic to see, especially in the southwest. 

You would enjoy reading Edwin Way Teale’s series of books traveling through the seasons. Each season, the Teales took their camper and drove from North to South, documenting the seasonal similarities and differences in the different climate zones. They were two of my favorite naturalists, and I did a study on them for the Nature Reserve years ago if you are interested.

You have experienced the grandeur of the Royal Gorge and, of course, the Rocky Mountains. Now you still have the mighty Atlantic ahead to experience. I almost hope it is stormy part of the day you are at the National Seashore or at the Chatham Lighthouse overlook. To be on the beach when the sea is angry is unbelievable, though just sitting on a dune and watching the ocean on a normal day is pretty awesome. If you can stay in one place for awhile by the sea, it is like having your ear on the chest of the earth, listening to it breathing and feeling its heart beat.  

To sit by the sea, with the whole planet behind you

and feel your heart beat in synchrony with the heart of the living earth

is to realize, maybe for the first time, that we are not who we are     

but what we are and have always been and always will be.



The Cape Cod Letters are a series of emails between my grandpa Larry and I, written during my family’s trip East in June. Papa Larry took 30 trips to Cape Cod in his life, but this was my first, so I wrote home about it. I’m sharing these letters each Thursday on my blog this summer.

Read Day One: East here.

12 thoughts on “Day Two: So Much Water

  1. Dear Bethany,
    I agree with your Papa: experiencing an angry sea has always been a spiritual experience for me. Our love of the ocean seems to be in the Melton genes! I can’t wait to read your thoughts when you get there! Thanks for sharing these letters. They mean a lot to me❤️


  2. “If you can stay in one place for awhile by the sea, it is like having your ear on the chest of the earth, listening to it breathing and feeling its heart beat. ” woah.


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