This article is about gratitude, an appreciation of the many important items we often take for granted. It is sometimes prudent to pause and recognize that we are, in many respects, very fortunate to live on Cape Cod. Every part of the world has its problems and the Cape is no exception. With the rapid increase in human population over the last couple of decades comes a series of environmental stresses that have taken a toll on water quality and biodiversity.
Still I am grateful for many natural wonders on the Cape. The first is clean drinking water. The Cape is a single source aquifer and so we are very fortunate to be able to turn on the tap and not worry about exposure to some deadly pathogen and disease. Even though there have been some localized issues with drinking water, such as bacterial contamination, the water for the most part is abundant and safe to drink. Most of humankind cannot make that claim. Water is also the resource that needs our constant care and vigilance. Issues such as nitrogen loading must be addressed, but overall, and in most communities, the water is safe to drink.
I am grateful for all the conservation land that exists on the Cape. Every town on Cape Cod has set aside critical parcels of open space that are accessible to the public for a variety of uses. These beautiful, scenic, and sensitive properties have been preserved because of the insight and dedication of many individuals and organizations over the years. These jewels of Cape Cod continue to provide natural functions and services ranging from the preservation of wildlife, the replenishment of water, and the protection of the coastline from erosion.
I am grateful for the existence of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Since its inception in 1962, this national park has been instrumental in preserving the natural beauty and habitat diversity of the Cape. It’s hard to imagine a Cape Cod without this spectacular park. It strengthened the local economy while respecting and maintaining the Cape’s history and culture. The seashore is visited by millions of people every year and its educational mission is quite valuable. The park maintains some of the best beaches on the east coast, and oversees fields, woodlands, dunes, marshes, and freshwater systems.
I write these words while staring out at a woodland frozen in the depths of winter. It’s snowing again as a relentless cold grips the Cape. But one can also be grateful with the knowledge that this too will change, and that this record snowfall will be replaced by a green work in the Cape’s continuous seasonal cycles.
Copyright Gil Newton 2009 Thanks to Chris Dumas for logo image.