far too much writing, far too many photos

Written yesterday, 11/24/01:

A November day of partial overcast, the light sometimes strong and full, other times thinner, more meditative. I’m seated at the dining table in a condo owned by two friends in Provincetown, Massachusetts, out at the tip of Cape Cod. In front of me are sliding glass doors, beyond them a porch, beyond that the bay, glittering chips of sunlight flickering across the expanse of water.

I arrived almost exactly 24 hours ago after an easy two-hour-plus drive down from Cambridge. Something I love about the holidays: the decrease in traffic. Thanksgiving Day and the morning after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, to a lesser extent the days between Christmas and New Year’s. Less intensity. Except in shopping areas, where the pace picks up. A mall just south of Boston sported a packed lot. Jammed, cars prowling for nonexistent spaces. This at 8:30 a.m., mind you. Before leaving the house, I turned on the TV, saw some stores had opened at 6 a.m. for the now traditional day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping binge, many people out there for the opening bell.

A 6 a.m. shopping frenzy. That can’t be healthy. (Then again, what do I know? Could be exactly what the doctor ordered for some deviants.)

My friends live at the far end of Commercial Street, a residential stretch of condos and pretty houses off away from Provincetown’s center. Yesterday afternoon, we stepped out into the November air, wandered in the direction of stores, galleries, restaurants, people. Before we knew it, we’d joined the rest of America in observing the first blast of the yuletide shopping season.

It’s a distinctive place, Provincetown, from the location — out at the end of the Cape, surrounded by water, miles of beaches stretching away to the south — to the character of the town itself and its madcap blend of residents and tourists, straights and gays, arty charm and brazen commercial hucksterism. Prior to last year, I’d never made the trip. Or rather, I’d attempted it on two different occasions, both during the summer, both times running into many long miles of traffic snarls, traffic so badly fouled-up, at such a standstill that I finally turned around and retreated to Cambridge. After that, I lost interest in further attempts. Who needs the aggro? I asked myself. And should you make it through the traffic, what’s at the other end? Tourists, chaos, blahblahblah. Which may be true during the summer, but not so much off-season. In fact, right now it’s a seductive little town — surrounded by natural beauty, filled with life.

Christmas lights are slowly materializing — first in stores, then on more and more houses. The temperature ranges from appropriately chilly to amazingly mild (60 right now), sea gulls sweep through the air above the town as residents and visitors below carry on with their days.

Tomorrow I return to Cambridge for dinner with friends and the resumption of packing, etc. On Monday, a buddy arrives from Dublin to help with the final stretch of the moving process and to engage in a little retail therapy.

Life rolls on.

Written today, 11/25/01:

As you may have noticed, posts have been erratic and infrequent since arriving back in the States — in part because web access has been limited, in part because energy and attention has been focused in other directions. In eleven or so days I’ll be back in Madrid, at which time entries will likely resume their usual, irritating frequency. Until then, enjoy your free time.

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