As ridiculous as it seems to proclaim publicly my personal stupidity, perhaps my experience of today will save someone else from being so reckless.
My sister (the one in Gloucester) is crazy for shipwrecks, so when she asked me to snap a few pics of our alleged exposed shipwreck on PI, I set out to find it.
I didn't find it, but that's not the point.
I walked and walked south on the Refuge beach, which was fine and dandy. I used to do it all the time, when I first lived here.
What I didn't think about was walking back. I forgot that often walking south on the beach is fine, but the wind is at your back. Walking north, the wind is in your face; it's pushing you back and you get TIRED and COLD, real fast. Especially if you're not in as good shape as you were 4 yrs. ago, when you had just moved from Boston where you walked everywhere.
I really thought I was going to die on that beach - half frozen, no one else in sight, no sense of time, no cell phone - and if I hadn't been on a beach with a clear line to civilization, I would have been lost.
No one knew I was out there - I had told my sister I didn't go because when I went the first time, I didn't have $5 for admittance to the Refuge.
At the end, just when I thought parking lot 3 was still way off and there was no way my tired legs would hold up, I saw a tiny red dot on the dune. It moved and I knew it was a person, standing on the boardwalk.
As I got closer, I saw the person, wearing a red coat looking down the beach with binoculars. I guess it was a birdwatcher. I managed to summon the energy to move up to the boardwalk, climb up the slope and along the (really long) boardwalk, back to my car.
I took off my gloves and my hands were bright red; every part of me below my waist ached (except for my feet - but they were wet from walking in the wet sand, which was easier to walk on). It was difficult for me to depress the clutch on my car.
Don't go walk on the Refuge beach alone. I can't believe I did it regularly, 4 years ago. I can't believe I did it today. I also can't believe that when I got to my car, I was still clutching the shells and driftwood I had picked up along the way out.
I wasn't paying much attention to beach detritus on the way back.
Welch poet on fire at Actors Studio.
4 days ago