One of my favorite views in my neighborhood is the path to the ocean. With split rail fencing on either side, the little right-of-way snuggles between two large ocean-front homes, a cut through for those of us who don't live right on the water.
Walk through this almost secret path, and emerge onto the long empty stretch of beach, Nantucket Sound before you stretching out for miles in every direction. It's a different world than the street just steps away.
In springtime, the path itself comes alive with climbing rose bushes clinging to the fence on the left, and French Hydrangea bushes looming over the fence to the right. Buzzing bees can be heard but not seen, hiding somewhere deep within the shadows. Grass greens quickly underfoot and to either side of the narrow path.
By early summer, the colors practically shout at you as you pass through. Glowing green grass, screaming hot pinks and soothing pale blues, all fighting for your attention as you make your way toward the pounding surf. But why linger among the heady scents when you can be digging your toes in the warming sands and searching the strand line for wayward seaglass?
Mid to late summer, the roses take their revenge on those who have ignored them. You need to be careful of the overgrown thorns that lash out at passersby, lodging themselves in unsuspecting bare feet. The bees, too, grow more bold and dart out to inspect those who dare pass through during the middle of the day.
Autumn falls slowly by the shore, the still-warm ocean waters keeping the weather at an even keel. The blooms may fade but the bushes do their best to cling to their greenery well into November, when the strong winds finally rip them from their branches and the now-sweatshirted landscapers prune the hedges to within inches of death. There they wait, their branches naked and empty, until spring finds them once again.
But in the depths of winter, there is still some beauty in these bare forms. The twisting shadows they cast upon the white sheet of snow are intriguing. The way the hydrangea bushes create deeper snow drifts and keeps them shadowed and alive on the one side of the pathway keeps you alert to the fact that winter is with us, even on Cape Cod. Blue shadows fall deep in the white snow, showing where a boot has sunk too deeply. Especially in January, when the snow blows through, whistling through the bushes and fences like the soundtrack of an old movie, or a ghost haunting its nemesis.
Only the sparkling sun promises that spring may yet be just around the corner.