Cape May travel log part 1…

Cape May travel log part 1…

clouds cloudy dawn dramatic
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

I wish I could make movies, with the film of my eyes, so I could really show you what I am seeing, not just in the usual dimensions, but with the actual lens of my mind, I am driving, down a way, I know so well, and literally a countdown, New Jersey is many things but one thing in particular is the spine, the Parkway, the numbered roadway that seems to control destiny here in the garden state, tonight I am travelling, due south, or as far south as will allow, down from 131 all the way to exit 0, ZERO, and then a bit further, in the summer months this would be a head scratching mess, bumper to bumper, taillights, eye locked eye fights, horns, accidents causing throngs of frustration rippling up the roadway for miles, but not today, and certainly not tonight, the sky is spitting, and misting, the bright dashes embedded in the asphalt road are hypnotic and monotonous both, eight lanes in the busy part of the state become four and then down to two, bridges over unseen waters rush on by, there are very few cars on the road tonight, a Sunday, to be sure, but the hour is not that late even if it seems later, six PM sharp seems more like midnight dark, but who am I to say, exit 42 just went by, not much further to go, no GPS, no maps, I know all this route well, a ritual perhaps, my yearly coming here, well, there, when I get there, Cape May, all these years and I never thought to research the name as to why ‘May‘, and the thought will probably be gone before exit 30, or 12, or the Wildwoods, ever so closer to my shore resort destination…


I pass exit zero, without much or any fanfare, the land seems bare, wrapped up and tucked away for winter, not barren or abandoned, just buttoned down to the point of just enough, I suppose this is what hibernation is, except for humans living in places where the wind, wake and weather dictate behavior, for a time, for a season, this time, so I have arrived, a resort town, directly on the ocean, of course the hotel is located on ‘Beach Avenue’, the town is not quite empty, but the word “vacancy” is in more display than car lights on the thoroughfares, as a matter of fact the traffic lights are also put to sleep, just a blinking yellow where proper popular crossings used to be, no matter, there is nothing to encounter, just the misty rain in the streetlights light, the blinking yellow light flashes on the sides of the dark buildings like predictable lightning, my old hotel with a parking lot occupied by only one other car, this is why I come here, this time of year, I am almost disappointed someone else is here, but secrets are never kept, and others I suppose might have the same bent, as me, so, I park in my choice of spots, walk into the familiar lobby (as I have stayed here many times over the years), and an older woman checking in is wondering aloud with the hotel employee, “am I the only one here?”, and I answer, “no there is also me”, which seemed to startle her a bit, even if it was not my intent, so I check in, with the gentleman who is more like a kid, I never run into the same person twice, at the desk, in all these years, he’s nice enough, certainly up on his speech about hotel policies, I interject, trying not to be condescending, probably failing, that I am well aware of all these things as I stay here every year going back at least a decade or more, how pompous, but I think he took it fine, with a nervous genuine smile, I made a joke about the parking situation, honestly this is the most empty I have ever seen this place, that suits me just fine, but I am sure the desk worker still has to adhere to his due diligence, and well, good for him, I get my key card, fifth floor, ocean view of course, I imagine I am no where near the two others who are checked in, and I must admit I hope that to be true, I am here to detach, get away, isolate, decompress and all that, a selfish moment, a selfish sentiment, yes, I agree, but sometimes such things are needed, and this is one of those times, and that is why I came.


Sometimes the familiar is a lull and you lose yourself, you forget to check the details, this is an old hotel, back to the 1800s in fact, you can tell in the hallways, drafty and cold, as is the case tonight, the ceilings are also shorter than you might imagine, hard to tell how many souls have walked these halls, I stop off the elevator to check out the lounge (there is one on each floor), old victorian decor, paint over paint over paint from the years and wear, various books seem random, a complete volume of Funk and Wagnall’s encyclopedia, it seems this little corner survives like a museum outside the reach of the internet, at least for now, the faded yellowing pages are somehow soothing, even if I am not going to bother reading, books can be experiences in many ways, even on display, such as this, left like little presents for those who wish to unwrap them, but for now, I would rather get to my room, unpack all this junk I have wrought upon my back, all my gizmos and electronics, this laptop on which I type, all the work to break them down and build them back up seems absurd for just a short week, but a creature of habit needs to eat, so here I am and doing all these so I might have a level of comfort that I brought with me to this place.

end part 1

Scrimshawshank Redemption…

Scrimshawshank Redemption…


if teeth could tell tales
instead of having them pass by
from the mouths of babes
spawned in the maws of whales
food for thought, a pictograph
etched enamel, weathered hands
captured memory of the sea
a voyage through the seven and creatures be
words wrapped wisdom around a molar born
or an incisor’s whit captured nautical dawns

“This is the tooth of a sperm whale that was caught near the Galapagos islands by the crew of the ship Adam [of London], and made 100 barrels of oil in the year 1817.” (an early scrimshaw inscription)

“lively sketches of whales and whaling-scenes, graven by the fishermen themselves on Sperm Whale-teeth, or ladies’ busks wrought out of the Right Whale-bone, and other skrimshander articles” – Moby Dick by Melville

Scrimshaw collection @ the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa

Music? gotta go nautical with one of my all time faves…

>>> Voivod – The Prow

A “prow” is the portion of a ship’s bow (ahem, front of ship) that is above the water, in old times adorned with various carvings, creatures and maidens…

notes: Scrimshaw ? yeah, I know, what the? sometimes, ok, often things just pop in my mind, “it just popped in there” – ray