Blue was the colour of the sky above the boat as it bobbed up and down, waves slapping noisily against its sides, just off the tip of Cape Cod. At least, in its most basic sense. I have tried since I got back from Provincetown to try to express what I saw that day, and failed miserably. You see, the sky went on forever, the blue searing my eyes. The sun glinted off the sea, the few fluffy clouds that there were, seemed to bob so low that at one point I imagined we were sailing above them. How do you explain that to someone who wasn’t there? Even the photos I took can’t fully convey what filled my eyes.
Turquoise blue was the colour of the whale that I was watching, languidly basking just below the surface. It was a Fin whale. I know that because the marine biologist on board filled us all in, slipping in casually that it was the second largest mammal on the planet after the blue whale. This whale, I will call it a she because that’s what I felt rather than knew, had just returned from a dive in the rich feeding grounds of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. I supposed, looking at her lazily moving her huge tail, as she contemplated rising to take another deep breath, that she must have eaten well this time. She had dived far faster the last couple of times. As if sensing the excitement of her two-legged groupies, she surfaced briefly, rewarding us with a view of her beautiful head. Then she let out her breath and sank into the deeps, leaving us forlorn behind.
I was on my last full day in Provincetown. I thought I would have all week to do the trip out to sea, but a storm midweek had forced the ships to remain in port. Ours was the first boat to venture out. I had been tantalised in the meantime with sightings of dolphins and Humpback whales from seasoned whale watching campaigners who had already been out to look for them. However this lovely lady and one of her relatives were all that we saw. I didn’t feel cheated. Watching the arch of their backs, the green-blue silhouette of their bodies underwater, touched me deep inside. I left a little bit of my soul out in those waters that day, and I hope one day to return.
Vibrant blue was the colour of the busy dashboard display on our hire car. I think I mentioned in my last blog that part of the adventure was going to be the drive from the airport to the hotel. I thought I had anticipated everything, but being given a hybrid automatic wasn’t on the list. The dashboard would have shamed the Starship Enterprise. After fruitlessly trying to get the thing going, I sent my better half to fetch help. The nice gentleman rushed over, and then broke the news as diplomatically as he could. The reason I couldn’t hear the engine was because it was electric. Shouting thanks, I drove away quickly, clutching what was left of my dignity. We drove up through the Cape in darkness. The night hid the wonderful colours that would hypnotise us on the drive back. Massachusetts in autumn lives up to its billing.
Light blue was the colour of my girlfriend’s room. We had called ahead to warn our hosts at the Secret Garden Inn that we were going to be late, very late. Bless them, they waited up without complaint until midnight for us to arrive. We were welcomed with warmth, gorgeous smells of cooking, and blissfully comfortable beds. Our body clocks awry, we both woke at 6am and I popped round to find her enjoying the view from her veranda. We had made it to Provincetown, and it greeted us like the set from Murder She Wrote, lit by a gorgeous sunrise. We both had cushions on our beds with little whales on. I had starfish on my walls, she had fish. Snuggling under her blue blankets, we had truly found our own little corner of heaven.
Corporate blue was the colour of the carpet in Provincetown library. I knew it was corporate because it didn’t mind me spilling my drink on it. I spent a lot of the week in there, listening, observing and talking to my fellow travellers to Women’s Week. I met some wonderful writers and readers, and learnt a great deal as always. I also took the opportunity to get some of my writing done, knowing that the calm of the environment would help bring the words. However I was distracted by the half-size model of a Schooner (yes, a ship) that the Library had decided to house on its second floor, with the children’s books. I used to have a ship in a bottle, and felt a bit aggrieved when one day an expert on TV explained how the magic was done. Somethings are best left to the imagination, and I didn’t ask how they had got the Rose Dorothea into the space. I just looked at it with awe and wonder. What a wonderful space for children to explore the world in!
Finally, inevitably, blue was my mood when I had to leave. I didn’t hide my tears from my girlfriend and she comforted me as best she could. On the drive, and the flight home, I desperately tried to think of the quickest way to return there. To be somewhere where I felt so totally at home; where it’s ok to hold my girlfriend’s hand and give her a cuddle; where people like to say good morning and chat to you on the street; where I can feel the clean sea breezes on my face. To make things worse, two days later I was ushering my girlfriend onto a plane at Heathrow, knowing I wouldn’t see her for four weeks. On my second day back at work, I found myself crying on the journey, suddenly weighed down by the drudgery, drabness, and unfairness of the world I had been forced to come back to.
I will be back Provincetown, and it won’t be long, I promise!