A couple of generous friends introduced me to one of their favorite secret walks in the sand dunes on the coast of Massachusetts. I had never seen anything like these sandy hills full of scrub oak and pine and blossoms and mosses and all sorts of mysterious vegetation. Of a stunning beauty.

And because it had been raining hard, everything was blooming or just beginning to leaf out. I was surprised at how vibrant and colorful this quiet, hidden place actually was. Lots of fresh new poison ivy too.

How delicate the baby oak leaves.

I went back the next morning with my camera; the fog-shrouded dunes looked even more alluring. Tiny creatures were burrowing into the rain-pocked sand.

I got a bit lost but how lost can anyone get when you can hear the ocean pounding the shoreline? Well, very, if you are me. Somehow the fog turned me around several times, the paths are blurry and indistinct in places, gone altogether in others, but it only meant that I stumbled on a few more lovely features of this landscape, including some bogs and marshes.

What follows is a mostly un-captioned photo spill from my walk--perhaps a friendly reader will fill us in on what's what.

At least I recognize the beloved sassafras.

It would be nice to take this walk with a scientifically-inclined sort of person. If I had the names of plants then I might also get their stories, too. So, with apologies; but how could I resist sharing all this? (And I will spare you my increasingly deranged obsession with the many deflated balloons tangled, half-buried in the dunes....for now, anyway.)


William said...

Okay awesome pictures and description Dominique - I was able to place myself there. One question though, deflated balloons from where? Kid's birthday parties from scores of miles away released and carried by the wind?

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Where is this!?

slowlovelife said...

Yes, indeed, the wind carries these things for miles and miles. Who knows where they come from? I watch them fly through the air from up here on the 8th floor in Harlem, all across the vallley at the edge of the Morningside Escarpment, and then I watch as the wind wafts them up up up towards St. John. Quite fascinating in its odd way....!

jessie said...

lovely. wild. peaceful. a bit melancholy.

Sheila Wilensky said...

Gorgeous reminder of my Maine coast home. Is this around Plum Island?

LindaB said...

Thank you for the nature walk. So many wonderful shots. I wish I could comment on several individually. The rain-pocked sand is a beautiful background. The magenta baby pine cones...in bloom?... Spring is astonishing each year she revisits us.

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Are you telling me that the very things that bring smiles to the faces of the precious little over-privileged brats on the Upper East Side also pose a danger and nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals? It's probably worth it, we're talking about very important kids.

Cristina said...

awesome and inspiring

Wendy Bredhold said...

The last picture looks like an earthstar. I don't know much about them, but when I was a child I read a book about a little witch who flew around on one.

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Having lived near the ocean most of my life, while looking at these pictures I can actually smell the salt water, the "low Tide" smells, the wet breeze against my cheeks, the grainy texture of sand between my toes............I guess i have salt water in my veins

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Dislike children (of wealth) or otherwise much William?

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Darlene said...

The current shortage of helium might put a dent in the party balloon supply. Didn't see any balloons on the dunes.

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Wonderful photos, thank you for sharing.

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Judith said...

Having grown up in Massachusetts and lived here my entire life, save for one year, I feel I should be able to help you identify these plants. Alas, I cannot. But thank you for reminding me to appreciate our singular coastline. I don't know if this is Cape Cod or Cape Ann, but looking at your photos I can feel and smell that coastal air.

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Helen Lang said...

This is a walk I would love to take. Will the location remain secret? Pretty please.

Susan Steadman said...

This looks much like the northwestern shoreline of the lower peninsula of Michigan, where I live...in and around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore...one of the most beautiful areas of the country, and still largely undiscovered...if you ever have the chance to visit, do...in the summer time...

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