One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Sunsets

ice-cakes-sunsetI’m always talking about how beautiful sunsets are here in the off-season and this weekend, I’ve had the chance to appreciate a pair of them.

We’ve had a nice break in the weather with the weekend’s arrival.  Saturday saw the thermometor swell into the thirties and low forties, with some sunshine to help shrink the snow cover in the yard and everywhere. 

Today, we tickled the underside of 52 degrees and it was bright and golden sunshine we enjoyed.  It was a day to thrust open the windows and let some fresh air blow through the apartment.

Of course it will be a while before warm temperatures can have too much impact on all the cakes of tidal ice which have built up along the bayshores during our recent cold snap.

sunset-rock-one1

Last night, my sunset walking found me at the shore at the end of nearby Dyer Prince Road, looking out at this rock you’ve seen in photos before.

whale-agroundThere was sad news from that part of the shoreline on Thursday, when it was discovered that a young finback whale that became caught in the tidal ice and beached near the high tide line.  The poor creature expired shortly after being discovered and local wildlife officials plan to remove the carcass for necropsy and study once the shore ice has thawed a little to allow removal.

Although it happens with some frequency, I’d never yet seen a beached whale since living here on the Cape and so I went to check out this beautiful creature close up.  To some extent, it was in my mind that I was going to pay my respects, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was so moved by the sight of this incredible animal laying there, so quiet and still, it’s great gentle eye closed. 

I shouldn’t be sad, I know.  It’s all nature, just part of the Circle of Life and in some ways, no different than any empty crab leg or seashell I find on the beach any other time of year.  But these guys are just so, well, they are…different.  I made myself a promise to get out on a whale watch boat as soon as I can this spring, to see one of these magnificent guys out there in the ocean, alive and splashing as they are meant to be seen.

Additional indignity has been done to the poor thing by some local souvenir seekers who tried to remove the whale’s tale.   They were unsuccessful in their attempt and it hangs by a bit of sinew.   Local authorities are hoping to track down the perpetrators, since a hefty fine applies for disturbing marine mammals, living or dead.

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marsh-grassI hadn’t planned to be free for sunset this evening, but when my plans for the evening fell through, it seemed a perfectly logical adaptation.   It had been such a lovely day, so nice and warm (warmish, really, but it’s all a matter of degrees lately) that going to be the beach for sunset was a bit of a no-brainer.

I’m glad I didn’t go unprepared, though.   An extra layer or two, a hat and scarf, these things were all very important.  The temperature had already slipped back into the lower forties as the sun sank toward the horizon, and between the prevailing breeze off the bay and the moisture in the air from the incoming tide, there was a chill effect of what seemed to be several million degrees.

But that bright golden orb and it’s spectacular dance over the distant horizon certainly make you feel a little warmer.  But it’s all just a pretty illusion.

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bees-creek-iceIt’s no secret at this point that some of my favorite sunsets have been enjoyed from First Encounter Beach in Eastham, so that’s where I headed tonight.   Rather than spend too much time right on the shoreline, I opted to shelter behind the dunes a little, exploring Bee’s Creek, which is the waterway through the center of the marsh behind First Encounter’s dunes.

There were some shorebirds floating and drifting and feeding in the waters far away from me, but I didn’t attempt to bother them for good photos this evening.  There was a celestial show underway I was quite enjoying as I tried to stay warm.

I believe it is tomorrow when there’ll be a lunar eclipse just prior to sunset, though I believe it is only the west coast of this country and some other areas which will be in a position to appreciate the spectacle.   Tonight you could see how easily things are falling into position for this sort of thing, as the full moon rose in the eastern sky, as if it were on a teeter-totter with the sun.

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setting-sun-aFor a while, the moon disappeared behind the bank of clouds which had appeared to be breaking up earlier.  I was completely mesmerized by the warm and brilliant show of the orange sun, but also wondered for a moment or two if the full moon I’d seen hadn’t simply been a bit of retina burn ghost image after looking at the sun.

But then, the sun seemed to give off an extra burst of light just as it slipped over the horizon, and the playful and inconstant moon slipped up from behind the cloud where she’d been hiding from the sun’s bright rays, beginning in earnest her climb through the darkening sky.

From beyond the horizon, the sun sends off a last little fountain of red light,  before leaving us to another cold winter’s night.

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sun-set

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Comments on: "Sunsets" (13)

  1. Awwww! Poor whale! How unfortunate. [sigh] But on the brighter side, your photos – especially the ones with lovely moons look awesome! Great photography.

    Thanks, Mouli!

  2. The beautiful moon, honoring the whale with its soft light. May the creature rest peacefully.

    Thanks for your thoughts, and photos.

  3. So many beautiful pictures to peruse. They should be in a coffee table book. Nice work!

  4. Your pictures are breath taking. The vivid colours of the sunrise (sunset?) Wait a minute, you’re on the East coast so, sunrise. Whew . . . I pity the whale. We know so little about these creatures.

    We had 3-4 inches of snow today. I thought we were done with that. Oh, well.

    It looks like I’m going to have to post another map of Cape Cod, to remind everyone how I can see both sunrises and sunsets over water here on the east coast. As the title said, these were sunsets. We’ve gone a whole four or five days without snow – it’s pretty nice!

  5. Wow. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos with us. As I sit here awaiting the sunrise it’s inspiring to see these sunset photos. I really like the moon between the dunes. It’s my new desktop wallpaper!

  6. I can understand feeling a greater sense of occasion at seeing the death of a whale. The size of course, but when I’ve seen them alive there’s also a sense of being with another sentient creature. Actually I’ve also felt a similar sense of reverent sadness at the death of huge trees. There I think it’s the sense of how much time they lived through, centuries in some cases.
    These are beautiful. And yes, get out to see some whales at their best as soon as you can. It always restores me.

  7. I try to make my comment short, your pictures are gorgeous, esp. “sun-4”, “moon-3” & “moon-2”.

    No need to worry about short comments, Martin, but thank you, thank you and thank you! : )

    I’ll admit I’m a bit partial to “moon-2”, myself!

  8. Nicest sunset collection I’ve ever seen…

    “One season following another
    laden with happiness and tears”

    Joe, that’s beautiful. I see quotes; is there a source I should be recognizing? I may seem dense, but its just the sun in my eyes distracting me.

  9. Acheingly beautiful pictures Greg! I would also feel sad and respectful at the side of a dead whale – and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hack a piece off, I mean, what are you going to do with it? Hope they get caught…

  10. It’s from “Sunrise, Sunset,” from Fiddler On The Roof. It seemed to fit the themes of your post.

    OMG. So dense. Of COURSE it is! Heh. Wow.

    Geez, I was even humming “moonrise, sunset” as I was putting this one together, too. Nice little psychic blogger trick there, Monsieur…

  11. You are definitely becoming the expert when it comes to capturing these sunsets! That capture of the moon is good, too!

    Silly Steven, you can’t capture the sun OR the moon…but I’m glad you enjoyed the pics!! ; )

  12. Beautiful, stunning photos. I especially like the tidal ice shots with the golden grass. Some of the best sunset shots I’ve seen in a long time.

    Thanks, Tim!!

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