Outdoor art can be easy to overlook. It becomes part of the landscape as we rush on by. Most novels will give weather details while describing a setting, but there aren’t many I can think of that bring art into it. Yet when we stop and pay attention to a statue or sculpture, it adds to our understanding of a place.
In John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Augustus and Hazel picnic near an oversized skeleton sculpture with all kinds of symbolic implications. Even missing art reveals something about a place. In The Orphan Master’s Son, “There seemed to be no statue, and they could not tell what the square glorified.”
A while back, Jilanne Hoffmann wrote a post about San Francisco artists who were using words to create visual art. The idea of a sculpture of a man made of words intrigued me. I wasn’t sure if I had seen local art made from words or if the art around here would be any different. I decided to go on a treasure hunt just to see what could be found. As it turns out, Cape Cod outdoor art is….definitely different:
It might be inexplicable. It might be an eyesore. It might even be something people wouldn’t expect to see in that particular place. Whatever it is, it adds the kind of detail that brings a setting to life.
Cape Cod has its own way of being unique. It’s filled with characters and subtle humor. So it makes sense that the art found here is as craggy and enduring as the land. Ocean life including crabs or an octopus take on funny personalities. The lobster could be called strangely detailed. Sometimes tourists stand in line to get their pictures taken with it.
Except for a warning not to climb on the whale, no words could be found. The art speaks in another way by showing our ties to the ocean and ocean life. Still, my favorite kind of outdoor art is found at the beach.
Whether we choose to stroll or run through life, a park bench is the ultimate stopping place. Sometimes we need to sit and breathe and watch as life continues to scuttle on by.
On this day, a tiny dog trotted by while wearing a backpack. Other dogs on leashes dragged their owners along as they chased squirrels up trees. Girls in frilly dresses joined in on the fun and chased more squirrels up trees. I started to feel sorry for the squirrels but in a flash they were back to find food among the fallen leaves. Off in the background of it all, the trees gave out a last gasp of color and glowed with all the stored up energy of summer.
“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir
On an unrelated goat note, thank you to Britt Skrabanek for this post and thank you to the Goat Club for making me laugh. Anyone can join as long as you like goats and really, who doesn’t?
The pumpkin people can be found downtown. They hang out by lamp posts and lounge in rocking chairs. Some resemble politicians or witches or cartoon characters. Even though a few haven’t grown mouths yet, they generate smiles or laughter.
While out strolling among the pumpkin people, it’s best to be prepared for anything. They might even come to life when the autumn moon is full. Yes, people are strange. Pumpkin people are even stranger.
Have you encountered pumpkin people like these? Have you ever tried to create a pumpkin person?
Shifting sands create an ever-changing artistry. The constant wind sculpts peaks and valleys while smoothing out any edges. This is a place called Sandy Neck. On a map, it looks more like a tiny finger jutting out into the ocean. Over time, this barrier beach has developed into 4,700 acres of dunes, maritime forests, and marshes.
Strangely enough, the beach at Sandy Neck is a rocky one. It’s usually packed with sunbathers in the summer, so I like to hide from the crowds and investigate the 13-mile trail behind the dunes. A small parking lot at the entrance can be used for the trail.
At first, the trail winds between towering sand and marshes. It branches off every once in a while to bring tired feet and pounding hearts back to the beach for some easier walking. Those trails also bring hikers up higher for views of the dunescape and ocean.
Farther ahead on the main trail, a few scattered and lost cottages call up images of possible shotguns pointing through broken windows. Someday if I’m brave enough, I might walk the whole trail.
Sparks isn’t afraid of the cottages. She’ll trot right up, wag her tail, and practically knock on the door. By that time, she looks scarier than the cottages because she loves to splash around in the primordial ooze found in the marsh. This is the smelliest mud my dog has ever found. The overall smell is a combination of rotten eggs, fish, and dog breath. I’m planning on giving her lots of baths this summer.