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A Cape Cod Notebook from WCAI

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A nature writer living in Wellfleet, Robert Finch has written about Cape Cod for more than forty years. He is the author of nine books of essays. A Cape Cod Notebook airs weekly on WCAI, the NPR station for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the South Coast. In both 2006 and 2013, the series won the New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.

A nature writer living in Wellfleet, Robert Finch has written about Cape Cod for more than forty years. He is the author of nine books of essays. A Cape Cod Notebook airs weekly on WCAI, the NPR station for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the South Coast. In both 2006 and 2013, the series won the New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.
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United States

Description:

A nature writer living in Wellfleet, Robert Finch has written about Cape Cod for more than forty years. He is the author of nine books of essays. A Cape Cod Notebook airs weekly on WCAI, the NPR station for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the South Coast. In both 2006 and 2013, the series won the New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.

Language:

English


Episodes

All That Washes Ashore

9/11/2018
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I spent most of my summers learning to sail at the West End Racing Club in Provincetown. The other kids were all natives of this sandy spit, and they all took to sailing like they had salt water in their veins. Most were the children of fishermen or the great-granddaughters of whalers who overwintered in the Arctic.

Duration:00:03:30

Shellfish Memories

9/4/2018
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Robert Finch was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is taking some time off. We've gone into the archives, and today we're re-airing one of our favorite A Cape Cod Notebook essays. It's called "Shellfish Memories."

Duration:00:03:48

Naming Our Local Humpback Whales

8/28/2018
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It was coming on evening out on Stellwagen Bank, the red ball of the sun descending through the clouds. It had done its job, though- burning off the lingering fog banks out over the water. We were surrounded by whales- Humpback Whales- spouting and diving all around our boat.

Duration:00:04:13

Slowing Down for Blackberries

8/21/2018
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I’m lucky enough to live just over a mile from the beach, a straight shot along the Surfside bike path. If I’m running, which I have been doing to varying degrees of success over the last three years, I can make it to the end of the road and to the mouth of the sand trail that leads to Surfside in 10 minutes. Walking takes closer to 15 minutes.

Duration:00:03:24

What You Discover on the Backshore Beach

8/14/2018
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The Backshore beach is a veritable graveyard. Littered all about, from the tide line up into the dunes, are bodies and body parts. Some are fresh, the tide’s latest delivery; others lie, bleached and scoured, as if they had been there for all time.

Duration:00:04:23

A Rare Moment of Weightlessness

8/7/2018
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Lately I have taken to floating — lying on my back in the bay and letting the water cradle me. It can be hard to make it to the beach, even in the heat of summer, as so many other stressors pull on our time. There are a lot who live on Nantucket that hardly ever get to the beach. As one neighbor said to me: “I live on an island — --the beach will always be there.”

Duration:00:02:52

A Summer Beach Without a Plover?

7/31/2018
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For quite a few years I worked for Cape Cod National Seashore on its shorebird project, studying and protecting nesting terns and plovers. It was always with trepidation that I stepped inside an “enclosed area”- delineated with “symbolic fencing”-posts and twine lines with surveyor’s tape-the domain of one of our subject birds, the Piping Plover ( Charadrius melodius ).

Duration:00:03:35

A State of Deep Emotion While Saving a Life

7/24/2018
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This week on A Cape Cod Notebook, we hear from Provincetown resident Dennis Minsky, who shares his experience saving a life.

Duration:00:04:15

When the Fish Aren't Biting

7/17/2018
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I cleaned the rain gutters on my house this weekend. Which is another way of saying the fishing is slow.

Duration:00:03:17

Grappling With Eating Clams and Being Vegetarian

7/10/2018
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During this week's A Cape Cod Notebook, we hear from Provincetown resident Dennis Minsky, who talks about his struggle with being a vegetarian and eating clams.

Duration:00:02:55

The Fascinating Past of the Island Fisherman

7/3/2018
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A Cape Cod Notebook, WCAI's weekly essay series about life on the Cape and Islands, continues this week with a piece from contributor Nelson Sigelman. He writes about a friend who is an island fisherman with a mysterious past.

Duration:00:04:20

The Great Fiction

6/26/2018
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It’s with mixed feelings that I must tell you this will be my last Cape Cod Notebook broadcast for a while. Mixed feelings because I have greatly enjoyed doing these wee kly programs over the past thirteen years. On the other hand, the reason for this leave is that I have recently been named a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 2018.

Duration:00:04:43

A Muskrat Encounter

6/19/2018
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It was a beautiful afternoon in early June that I first explored the “Historical Society of Old Yarmouth Natu re Trails. ” These trails are located just behind the Yarmouth P ort post office on Rt. 6A. At first glance it looks like a typical mid-Cape conservation area, encompassing some fifty acres of wooded uplands, wetlands, old pasture , and a small pond . But every place has its own individual character and its unique potential for unexpected encounters.

Duration:00:04:05

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

6/12/2018
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It’s 5:30 in the afternoon at Newcomb Hollow Beach, and I am sitting on the sand directly in front of the parking lot so as to catch the last fifteen minutes of sun on the beach. The surf is regular and moderate, but only one paddle-boarder pushes leisurely out onto the surface of the sea between swells, stands up on his board, and then, as my granddaughter Coco puts it, he begins to “sweep the ocean.”

Duration:00:03:34

Sounds From the Past

6/5/2018
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I have a long and somewhat odd history with old phonographs and records. During my early years on the Cape I once salvaged several old Enrico Caruso records - 12” in diamete r and only recorded on one side – from an abandoned dune shack . Over the years I also bought several dozen more old records from Ben Thatcher’s Sound Museum in East Dennis. I kept them all , though it was years before I had anything to play them on.

Duration:00:03:26

Yellowlegs and the Perpetual-Motion Toy Bird

5/29/2018
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The other day, crossing Uncle Tim’s Bridge, I saw a flock of fourteen yellowlegs feeding in the gray slurry of the mud flats of Duck Creek at low tide. Greater and lesser yellowlegs are two of our most readily- identifiable local shorebirds. They are by far the largest of the sandpipers, with stilt-like bright yellow shanks that give them their common name. Their call is an unmistakable three-note descending whistle: CHOO-choo-choo, CHOO-choo-choo.

Duration:00:03:54

Seeing the Land: Past, Present, and Future

5/22/2018
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The other evening I went for a walk on Bound Brook Island and was struck by it all – not just by what was there, but by what had passed, and what was yet to come.

Duration:00:03:11

A Snapper in the Rain

5/8/2018
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This happened on the evening of our last rain storm, or what the old Cape Codders called a “ tempest . ” I’ve always liked that word, “tempest.” It goes back to Elizabethan times. Shakespeare used it as the title of his last play , in which the spirit Ariel says, “We are such things as dreams are made on. ” Its root comes from tempus , the Lati n word for time, and it connotes a great disturbance, one in which the doors between the present and the past might be suddenly flu ng open.

Duration:00:03:54

The Light in Late Spring

5/1/2018
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This is the brightest time of the year. That may seem like a counterintuitive statement , since spring on Cape Cod usually conjures up images of cloudy skies and rain showers. But on a sunny day in early May, if you can divest your self of seasonal prejudices, the world can seem mo re bright than at any other time of the year.

Duration:00:03:33

Beach Retreats, Strategic and Otherwise - Part Two

4/24/2018
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Last week I discussed a couple of recent examples of a forced or strategic retreat from our beaches due to a ccelerated erosion, namely the closing of the public parking lot at Wellfleet’s Cahoon Hollow Beach, and the closing of foot access to the beach at Eastham’s Nauset Light parking lot.

Duration:00:04:00