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."

This summer was very hot.   Almost every day was nice and there was almost no rain to spoil anyone’s plans, unless someone wanted to do something besides water their garden.  There was lots of traffic.   I had lots of fun with my friends.   I also met many new friends.   It was a very good summer and I got to do many exciting things like dance and go to shows and parades and stuff.  I had a very, very, very good summer and now I am very tired.

The End.

Nah, I didn’t figure that would satisfy you all, but you can hardly blame a guy for trying.  Hopefully you’ll forgive my long absence from this blog.  I never meant for it to go so long, but as they sing in Bye Bye Birdie, I’ve had a lot of livin’ to do and while fun, its left me sort of tired and with little time to think about posting photographs or doing much writing.   Java reminds me this was more reason to celebrate than feel guilty and I’m down with that.  But now it’s autumn, I’ve caught up on a little sleep and I’ll try to catch you up.

As July turned to August, I turned in my leased car and became the proud owner (well payer-for, just now, but someday it will be mine…) of a 2006 Saturn VUE and began to relearn the art of the Standard Shift.

It was an intensive refresher, coming as it did in the midst of the heavy tourist traffic of High Summer, but one more exciting and fun challenge for me, too.  And I’m kind of love with my new ride in a way I haven’t been with a vehicle in some time (tho, no:  I have not done any naming), so that’s neat, as well.

In turn, that whole process shined a little light on my budget and highlighted the need for there to be just a little more cash in it.  It was my great good fortune to learn that the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater was looking for house managers for the summer season and to be hired as such.

Sometimes it seems things just work out the way they are meant to.  What a treat to find a part-time gig that doesn’t seem so much like work at all, and as a bonus, has given me the great pleasure of becoming involved with an amazing theatre community.

When last I wrote, Java was here for a visit and we had the best day.   One of the things I love about summer on Cape Cod is that there seems always to be someone coming out this way for a little vacation time and spending time with friends always makes me happy.

To illustrate this point, as Java and Corey were headed off Cape toward their next destination and its bad motel room fabric patterns, my other blog buddies Jess and Marc were arriving on Cape for a week in sunny, fabulous Provincetown.  In fact, had it not been for a wicked thunderstorm that deviled the lads for most of their journey, my two sets of journeying friends might’ve been able to wave at one another whilst passing on the bridge.

Summer brings many blessings.

Through a bit of good luck and happy connections, I was able to wrangle myself and my sweet new ride some free parking in town.   Those of you unfamiliar with PTown might not realize what a stroke of luck this was, but because of limited space, it can often cost between $10 and $20 to park in Provincetown during the summer season…and on some days MUCH more than that.   Being able to eliminate that expense (and I found a few other options along these lines as the summer progressed, too) meant I could visit after work most evenings, which turned out to be great fun and let me enjoy a sort of faux summer vacation experience.

Jess and Marc were renting a house in town for the week with four friends and as we all got acquainted, I had the distinct feeling that I was merely getting caught up with old friends, not meeting strangers for the first time.    Common interests were everywhere and laughter came easily and often.

The house was well air conditioned – a treat as our long hot hot summer continued – and we spent plenty of time there, amply supplied by our dear Bokey with all manner of tasty appetizers, cookies, the Most Amazing Chili Ever and all manner of other sweet treats, including – of all things – Bananas Foster, which Jess quickly blended into some delightful frozen beverages.

What a team.

Their rental property featured some lovely gardens, but we also spent plenty of time admiring a rather vast hillside garden across the street, which we could see out the window without  leaving the tender caress of the air conditioner.

Marc and I enjoyed a chance to be garden geeks and spend some time trying to do long distances identifications of the various daisies, lilies, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas, dahlias and foxgloves and cosmos and such.

By the way, this lovely blue thing to the left is, I believe, called echinops, or globe thistle, a plant I’ve long wanted for my own gardens.   Seed pods were harvested and we’ll see what comes of that in the year ahead.

I’m happy to say that we were able to muster ourselves and get out into the exciting environs of Provincetown, where we could enjoy more of the bounty this tiny fishing village has to offer during Steamiest July.

To feast our eyes there were the seaside vistas, many galleries and shops, the throngs (and thongs) of our fellow tourists and the shimmery way the waxing moon rose over the harbor that week.

One of my favorite evenings found us enjoying gelato on a park bench by the pier, the only place in town where a refreshing breeze could be found.

My new (but seemingly life-long) pal Byrne’s blog affords him the opportunity to see all kinds of great theatre and so in his company we sampled a couple of Provincetown’s many show offerings for the 2010 season, starting with Canned Ham, starring darling Tom Judson in a one man show that wove story and song into a celebration of many his talents and experiences and the way that this one man’s unique life has played out thus far.

We all have an interesting story, I think, but we can’t all lay claim to having written tunes for Sesame Street, performed on Broadway and having become gay porn star Gus Mattox (Performer of the Year at age 45!), can we?   Can you play both the accordion and the trumpet simultaneously and do it wearing just a jockstrap? 

Mmm hmm, sure you can.

Tom can, and his show was by turns entertaining, sweet, funny and quite touching.  Byrne said all that and more here, and I agree whole-heartedly.  If the show comes to your town, check it out!

Throughout the week, while I was having such fun with my friends old and new, I had the feeling that the whole experience was kind of important to me in a way I couldn’t entirely put my finger on.  Something about being able to have a little more fun than last summer when so much was still changing for me.  To be able to take another step beyond past heartaches and happinesses and celebrate all the good and magic and fun that’s right there in front of me now, forging new bonds, starting new traditions, trying new things.

I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now and certainly hadn’t imagined it might be October before I’d getting around to sharing some of my July and August adventures with you.

But the days have slipped by and suddenly I have some fresh perspective.   In more recent days, many of us have been saddened by the news of too many young gay people driven to suicide by the hopelessness so many feel at facing being “different” at a time when it feels so important to be like everyone else.  I remember that feeling well and I remember a particular winter’s evening in 1984 when such dark lonely thoughts deviled me, too.

Of course I’m glad I chose to put those thoughts aside.  But only now, years later, is it easy to see how Time truly does soften plenty of those hurts, or at least helps put them in perspective.   With each passing day we learn new things about ourselves, often through letting other people into our lives, but also by facing challenges head on and not giving up.

Hopefully, as we grow we strengthen our connections to the family we were born to, but we also continually build a unique family made of friends and loved ones whose lives intersect with and flavor our own.

Oh, sure, Life is full of days and weeks – sometimes even months or the occasional year – which at the time and even with hindsight, can be categorized as having kind of sucked.   That’s the way it goes.  Somehow you just can’t have the good without the bad; it’s in the fine print of our contracts.   Sickness, sadness, bullies, loneliness, fear.  Rain.   Everyone gets some.

But don’t misunderstand:  in between all that, in sharp contrast, is the rest:  Good health, happiness, friends, company, excitement, fulfillment.  Sunshine.    Evenings where you laugh almost until you pee.   Your days will bring you joys great and small that you cannot possibly imagine in advance.

So don’t give up on the world, on yourself.    Talk to us, anyone of us.   We’ll listen.  Let someone know if you need help.

It feels like you are alone, but you’re not.  You’re in a Big Gay Crowd and we all know what it feels like.   Believe in yourself.   We do.

Seriously.  It gets better.

Happy National Coming Out Day, everyone.


Comments on: "It Gets Better: What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part One" (7)

  1. Great to see you back and to catch up.

  2. My blog was similarly neglected, for similar reasons. Glad we both had fun, joyful things keeping us occupied this Summer, Pal. And thanks for this lovely post, touching on so many important, life-affirming things. Happy NCOD. XOXO

  3. If only all parents could accept their children for who they really are and not try to change them. Too often parents create their own expectations for the directions that should be taken….whether it is lifestyle, life partners, or career. Our gay and lesbian children are phenomenally gifted and loving people who continue to contribute so much to improve our crazy world. People need to stop ignoring what they don’t understand and step forward when they see the hurts and bullying wherever it takes place. I am so proud of all my kids – the two I gave birth to as well as all those who have made my life special for having spent time with you.

  4. Testify! This blog just gets better and better!

  5. Next year, I want to visit, it looks like such fun. Glad to see you had a fab summer!

    YES!!! You guys really should! Stay tuned – there’s plenty more pics of summer fun to keep us warm as the seasons turn!

  6. Welcome back, sweetie. So lovely to see all those smiles! Eagerly awaiting Part Two.

  7. […] a faux Outer Cape vacation, with gelato and gallery crawls and drag shows and er’thing.  Remember?   You thought I […]

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