The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore
- Publish Date: 2017-05-09
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Robert Finch
A poignant, candid chronicle of a beloved nature writerâs fifty-year relationship with an iconic American landscape.
Those who have encountered Cape Codâor merely dipped into an account of its rich historyâknow that it is a singular place. Robert Finch writes of its beaches: âNo other place I know sears the heart with such a constant juxtaposition of pleasure and pain, of beauty being born and destroyed in the same moment.â And nowhere within its borders is this truth more vivid and dramatic than along the forty miles of Atlantic coastâwhat Finch has always known as the Outer Beach. The essays here represent nearly fifty years and a cumulative thousand miles of walking along the storied edge of the Capeâs legendary arm.
Finch considers evidence of natureâs fury: shipwrecks, beached whales, towering natural edifices, ferocious seaside blizzards. And he ponders everyday human interactions conducted in its environment with equal curiosity, wit, and insight: taking a weeks-old puppy for his first beach walk; engaging in a nocturnal dance with one of the Capeâs fabled lighthouses; stumbling, unexpectedly, upon nude sunbathers; or even encountering out-of-towners hoping an Uber will fetch them from the other side of a remote dune field.
Throughout these essays, Finch pays tribute to the Outer Beachâs impressive literary legacy, meditates on its often-tragic history, and explores the strange, mutable nature of time near the ocean. But lurking behind every experience and observationâboth pivotal and quotidianâis the essential question that the beach beckons every one of its pilgrims to confront: How do we accept our brief existence here, caught between overwhelming beauty and merciless indifference?
Finchâs affable voice, attentive eye, and stirring prose will be cherished by the Capeâs staunch lifers and erstwhile visitors alike, and strike a resounding chord with anyone who has been left breathless by the majestic, unrelenting beauty of the shore.Map