this day, the first day of fall, we got some unbelievably gorgeous weather, perfect for the beach. i had this day marked from the start of the week, and although i tried to get a few people to come with me, there were no takers as i made my way up north to ipswich, to crane beach, to spend a day lying in the 80 degrees sun, enjoying the final few days of warm weather before the chill of autumn arrives. i went to belmont in the morning to borrow my parents' car, then came back to cambridge to gather up my things for the trip. i'd made a pair of mix cd's which i accidently left on the hood of the car as i drove off to get some gas. only then did i realize something was amiss, as those cd's were nowhere to be found. i came back to the house briefly to quickly burn another copy, before heading out again.

the drive to ipswich took almost an hour. the crane beach parking lot normally holds 600 cars, but today there was only a tenth of that amount. admission was only $5 for parking. i grabbed my bag, my towel, and a beach chair, and walked towards the ocean. most of the people i saw were either mothers with kids or senior citizens. an older woman smiled when she walked by me and said, "you look like you should be in the office today!" i didn't want to tell her that i'm technically unemployed. i followed the shoreline until i found a fairly secluded spot, within sight of only a few people. i unfolded the chair, put the towel on top, took off my shirt, and relaxed. or tried to relax. i'm so tense, an injection of ketamine probably couldn't release the tightness. i wanted to get dark, so i didn't even put on sunblock, even though i had it in my bag. in my haste to leave the house, i forgot my book and my magazines, so there was nothing for me to do but sit there and face the ocean. the crash of the waves and the noise of distant children playing were all the sounds i could hear. occasionally a motorboat would skip over the water on the horizon, occasionally migrating birds would fly overhead. slowly, over time, i got more comfortable. how many more days like this do we have? i should've been here all summer long instead of working. i wanted to test the range of my cellphone and called julie, back in somerville working, one of the people i invited who couldn't come. the reception was amazingly clear even though i was in a fairly remote spot, and julie thought i was calling from a regular land line.

curious to know what kind of nature i could find, i walked the shorline, looking for anything of interest that got washed onto the beach. this was a sandy beach, no rocks, a line of assorted seaweed where the edge of the ocean touches the land. elaborate walking trails snake through the dune grass growing in the center of the crane beach peninsula, but i didn't think i would see too much other than possibly a few well-hidden nesting birds, so i decided to check them out another time. i went back to my beach chair to do some more lounging.

dried sea lettuce

sea lettuce

northern kelp

crustacean shell

unknown seaweed

driftwood nugget

i could feel my body warming up. fearful of being burned, i finger tested my skin to see if it'd leave white splotches, but i saw none of that. the weather was perfect. the sky was amazingly blue with not a single cloud. there was a soothing warm breeze circulating dry summery air. it was just hot enough to be pleasant, but not so hot that i'd break into a sweat. i almost fell asleep a few times, but fear of serious sunburns or seagull attacks kept my awake. i went into the water just once, only waist deep (i can't swim anyway), just so i could go pee (you heard me right). after about 3 hours of beach time, with the rising waves starting to creep closer and closer to my chair, i figured it was time to pack it up.

i ran into some rush hour traffic, but made it back to belmont, to exchange the car for the motorcycle. i rode back to cambridge, where julie came over with freshly-baked apple pie while i prepared some baby-back ribs, some honey barbecue wings, and some scallion pancakes.