I love the path into Lambert’s Cove Beach.
I’ve walked this path thousands of times in my life, and was probably too young to walk when I came here for the first time. From later childhood visits, I remember a little barn that used to stand, pathside, halfway to the beach, slowly succumbing to the years and to the weather. The cluttered inside of the barn was dark and mysterious, especially in the bright light of a summer’s beach-day.
The barn is long gone.
Someday, I’ll be long gone, too.
Soon after you leave the parking area, if you’ll look down, you can see where an oak tree’s roots have all but covered a large granite stone. I could easily see this stone when I was a boy. No one will be able to see this stone in ten years.
Nearby is one of my favorite Vineyard trees, a really gnarly beetlebung.
You people from “Away” might not know “beetlebung”.
But you do know this tree.
Perhaps you know it as the gum tree, or the tupelo.
Nyssa sylvatica is the Latin-form name.
Not too many years ago, the woods around and along this path were “perfect”.
Winter storms have broken some of the older trees, and have tossed boles and branches about.
A few years ago, a spell of drought and a series of invasions of caterpillars killed many of the trees along the path. The dead trees now host bittersweet, poison ivy, briar, and virginia creeper.
These woods are now in transition. Straggly, newly liberated young trees are suddenly learning how to grow strongly, with less competition. Understory bushes and even grasses are flourishing, nourished by the new influx of light. The decaying trees are now a place for woodpeckers to hunt for food.
And to make their homes.
We’re getting near the dunes.
As you come up the incline, to the side you see beach plum bushes, which are every year buried deeper by the encroaching sands. Happy is the September day when you find quarts, or even gallons of ripe beach plums, gleaming purple in afternoon sun.
You have now arrived at Lambert’s Cove Beach.
Just don’t disturb the fence, OK?