Thing 1 and Thing 2 get their feet wet in the chilly North Atlantic.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 get their feet wet in the chilly North Atlantic.

Coming home from a visit to the Cape is always hard for me. I love being there. I love the beaches, which are harsh and wild, as opposed to the groomed and tame beaches of the Jersey Shore. I love the way the people up there treasure their environment-no where else have I seen a place capable of sustaining so many bird watching stores. I am intrigued by how the schools can use their local environment as part of their science classroom, and I wonder if that would help my children thrive. But mainly I love the way my family spends time together doing things outside, rather than sitting around watching tv or surfing the net, because we enjoy so many of the activities available to us there.

The Cape entices us outside to play, in part because there are so many accommodations for physical activity (from the marvelous bike paths to the multiple boat launches to the various hiking trails) and in part because there’s so much accessible wildness to experience. Every year when we come home, we talk about selling the Homestead and moving up there for good. Every year, we come closer to actually doing it.

There are things I love about my home that I would miss, though, including good friends and a link to the community. Tonight, for example, I’ll be attending the first of many organizational meetings for the recreational soccer program, which I serve as a volunteer coach. I would miss the garden I have put so much effort into building. I would miss the proximity to so many of my favorite merchants, and the relationship I have formed with my kids’ school system.

I wouldn’t miss the careers that keep my husband away 13 hours a day commuting to and from New York City and have me out at public hearings a few nights a week, often into the wee hours of the morning. My work is well compensated financially, but it can be extremely stressful when the public turns ugly, which is happening more frequently. So that makes me wonder…is it Cape Cod I yearn for, or is it a lifestyle change that we can do here? Honestly, I don’t know.

We won’t be calling any real estate agents in the near future, at any rate. But I will continue to indulge in the occasional fantasy of taking morning walks at Nauset Light Beach and biking around town on safe paths with little fear of being taking out by a contractor’s van, of a life where a foggy morning brings out all the local artists to paint the shingled buildings lining the misty harbors, and of a place where a coyote sighting doesn’t make the evening news and cause a local panic.