Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hidden Treasures from Nature - Cape Cod

Mother Nature is always hiding her gifts in unusual places. If you look closely around as you drive, walk in the woods or just meander down your neighborhood street, you'll find something interesting!

This heart shaped knob is high up in a tree as you exit our driveway in Brewster. I like to think it says, "Thanks for visiting and have a great day," courtesy of Mother Nature!

When we first moved to Cape Cod over 24 years ago, I began to cut away paths that travel in and around the trees and brush. Throughout this span of time, these trails have grown longer and now encompass three different sections over our two acres. This tree lays across one of the paths. It made for an interesting obstacle to overcome as you walked. When the kids were little they could walk right underneath it without bending over. I especially liked it because it had such unique markings on its surface.

These markings were made by insects and have faded over the years, but to me I imagined that they were ancient hieroglyphics or secret codes known only to a special few.

In fact, in my novel, Mooncussers, I was inspired to adapt this idea of secret markings. One of my characters is Minda, an Indian medicine woman. She lived among the Nauset Indians or 'praying Indians' on Cape Cod in the early 1700s. The Nauset people lived separated from the Colonists and mistrust on both sides was a given.  I surmised it might be possible that to a white man these markings may only look like insect trails but to a Nauset they might signify danger or a clue for which direction to follow for safety.

Here's another treasure. One spring Tim used this old stump as a place for his burn pile. When the fire was out, the stump took on the shape of (I imagined) the head of a seal rising out of the ground. It could be the basis of a great fairy tale. After all, what's a seal doing coming out of the earth?

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