Can you believe that summer is already drawing to a close? To me, 2020, has felt simultaneously like the longest and shortest year of my life. Also, curiously, I feel like I have way fewer memories of this year. Before the pandemic, I was out and about 7 days of the week, securing a plethora of unique experiences; however, since the pandemic madness, the radius encompassing my whereabouts has unduly shrunk. Because I spend every single live-long day at home, I feel that visually I am left unstimulated and the days smush, smear, and blend together. My days are similar, look the same, and therefore, for me at least, I feel that my collection of memories and unique moments has shriveled with my radius of movement. Despite living like a near shut-in for most of the summer, this past week, I have embarked on quite a few (semi) local adventures to compensate.
Recently, my boyfriend and I visited Falmouth, MA to enjoy a beach day. Falmouth is located on Cape Cod about 90 minutes south of Boston and is a regular getaway for many Bostonians. Although I have lived in Boston for a few years now, this daytrip was only my second visit to the Cape. Lucky for us, the weather was beautiful, traffic was light, and we were even able to get seats at an outdoor café for breakfast on the road.
Once we arrived in Falmouth, we impatiently headed to the first beach we found, slathered on sunscreen, and dashed onto the sand. The air was hot, the wind was cool, and the water was absolutely frigid under the morning sun. Without being there for more than 20 minutes, we decided to pack up and launch into a different adventure.
On the beach, I had mentioned to my boyfriend that when I was younger, I loved building sandcastles. While I did not say it as a suggestion of what to do next, he latched onto the idea and we psyched ourselves up at the prospect of building not only a sandcastle, but a sand empire. Because we had no sandcastle equipment, I began making calls to local stores to see where we could get at least a shovel and pail. While I had no luck with the small shops, one store clerk advised that I check out the local Wal Mart for such supplies.
And then we were off! We drove to the Wal Mart and were amazed to see such abundance! (I will remind you that we don’t get out much anymore). Although I was distracted by the shiny cookery, colorful stationery, and salty snacks, I know that we did not blindly pass over the beach supplies. Eventually, we ended up asking a store associate about where we could find a shovel and pail. He pointed us to the gardening section but warned that there was unlikely to be items left available this late in the summer. And, alas, he was right! Save for a few beach towels and the limp pool noodle, there was not a trace of summer supplies left. Instead, scarecrows and other autumn doodads were already lining the shelves.
Undeterred, we continued to prowl the aisles. At some point, and I do not even remember whose idea it was, we decided that we were going to get “real” sandcastle equipment. Specifically, we searched the gardening aisles to find an actual trowel and bucket. Then as we were leaving, we also saw plastic flatware and decided to procure two cups and a bowl for good measure. With the quality of our tools (costing us no more than $8!), I felt like we had graduated from our elementary sandcastle hopes and aspired to carryout collegiate sand-empire ambitions.
Later that day, we went back to the beach and surveyed the land for a construction site. The sand, unfortunately, was not ideal as the surface was lumpy and littered with rocks. We took up residence far from the water and began to level out the foundation (super important when building an empire). I began working on the south wing of the fortress and was responsible for the grand entryway that would lie on the east. My boyfriend deliberately dug and scooped out sand to begin working on the north wall and moat that would protect the edifice. After a concentrated effort, we erected a somewhat lopsided but wholly dignified sandy structure. Admittedly, we failed to raise the empire that we had imagined, however, we were both contented with the fact that this “castle” would surely please and protect the royal family from outside forces.
We came for the surf but stayed for the sand. It turned out to be a beautiful beach day indeed.