Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary - 'Sanctioned' Space

As we all know, gardens are a contrivance. Designed landscapes are artifice.

Gardens are a grand collaboration, a co-creative endeavor with a certain Ms. Nature.

Our partnership is an unequal one, for sure, as we are simply intruding on her domain, seeking to improve what is inarguably a perfect system.

With that said, I look to Mother Nature for inspiration and guidance. She never fails to renew and replenish.

Toward that end, each year I camp at the Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts for about a week amidst 1,100 acres of sandy pitch pine woodlands, meadows, maple and beech forest, salt marsh and fresh water ponds. This gem fronts onto Wellfleet Bay where naturalists volunteer to explain the wonders of the natural world to any who show up.

I get recharged here.

Cape Cod, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean more than any other place in the United States, is the world's largest glacially formed peninsula.

Dotted with hundreds of fresh water 'kettle ponds' -- created by ice left behind when the glaciers retreated-- the combination of ocean, bays, salt marsh and ponds within a 5 minute drive to each other is a serenity garden lover's paradise.

My favorite is the tidal salt marsh.

"A salt marsh sanctions space and a rooted integrity," wrote the naturalist John Hay.
"The centuries pass, and its patience deepens."

Filled with eelgrass and spartina grass, the marsh edges bays and inlets and traps life giving sediment and muck.

 Spartina actually filters the saltwater and pumps oxygen down from its leaves to its waterlogged roots.

The trails in the wildlife refuge travel through open meadows, shady woods and sandy beach.

I marvel at the asclepias ( butterfly weed):

thrill at the beach plum:

and savor the view.

Try Island trail - a rare combination of oak and beach and marsh

This is where the Pilgrims first landed before they went to Plymouth. The Indians were a little surprised - nearby is 'First Encounter Beach'. This is also where Marconi put up his tall tower to send the first wireless message across the Atlantic ocean. It is called 'Marconi Beach'. (Now we have those infernal wireless towers all over the world.....)

If you have a chance please make sure to put the Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on your 'bucket list'.


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