Rowing Forward Looking Back: Shellfish and the Tides of Change at the Elbow of Cape Cod

by Sandy Macfarlane

A few strokes beyond the buoys, I stopped rowing and looked around. The glassy calm water reflected the clouds in the early morning sky, and the landforms bordering the water. The colors, muted tones of grays and dark greens, served as a reminder that the day had not yet fully awakened. Patches of blue sky were reflected as more of a dull green but every detail was mirrored. The small boat, slicing through the water, made ripples as it moved, the contrails of a human-powered boat, extending out and away from the boat in long lines. The bubbles created from the oars closed in and merged into one line behind the boat. Water dripping off the oars made a swishing sound at the end of the stroke as I pulled them back into position for another “catch” that would pry the boat forward again. The sounds of the oars and soft swish of the boat moving through the water were the only sounds in the stillness of the bay.

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