No, I can’t. Which is okay. Chappy teaches limitations. There’s much emphasis on our potential these days, but sometimes it’s good to know where potential meets the horizon. And stops. Just stops.

I go searching for golf balls on the rougher-hewn perimeter of our golf course, venturing where short-sleeved and shorted golfers fear to go. There are paths through the scrub oak and brambles made by my deer friends that are fairly easily traversable, and golf balls within an arm’s reach of these narrow tracks are within, well, reach. But blooming like white-bulbed mushrooms are the bulk of the balls, protected as they are by the thicker brush. These are the balls I want. The ones other scavengers have left behind. I separate an X of thorny green vines, tuck my right shoulder beneath the upper cross and step over the lower gauntlet with my left leg. Wish I’d been more dedicated to my yoga practice. Thorns grab the plastic fiber of my fleeced shoulder while their comrades some 100 thorns down the vine make a mockery of the fabric of my blue jeans. Oh, sweet pain.

As anyone who has ever attempted to cross catbrier can attest, the effort becomes an intimate and personal battle between man and nature. I have cursed a vine, I will admit, and vowed vengeance. If brambles could laugh.

So it was the other day that I found myself cheek to wet leaf, prone, arm straining at its socket to reach a Titleist Pro V. Wriggling closer on my belly like a chubby white snake, I grabbed the ball, but like the spikes of a parking garage exit, the thorns allowed me only one direction. Forward. But there is no forward, only deeper into thicker brambles.

I’m sure if it had it been more than a week, someone would have come looking for me out there — maybe my crow friends, poking around to see if I had perhaps expired yet. But I was able to extract myself. With pain came eventual liberation. But while I lay there before unwrapping my self, thorn by thorn, from my confines, I thought that there are parts of Chappy not meant for us. We have a lot — some places are meant to be left to the mice and crickets and ants. We can’t have it all. No, we can’t.

Margaret Knight wrote to tell me that she may have spotted last week’s beaver described in this column. It was, she said, however, on someone’s head. Which made me feel really good because so few people now allow beavers a spot of rest atop a warm noggin. Poor thing was probably exhausted from all the hiking I saw it doing.

Margaret also mentioned she once saw a squirrel, but never another. She figured it must have been a lone male. Or perhaps, I thought, a particularly chaste female. Whatever the case, the squirrel line seemed to stop with that singular squirrel. But would I be surprised, upon re-opening the Big Camp next spring, to discover a couple gross of squirrels in residence? No, no I would not. Chappy is full of surprises but they become less surprising the more one is surprised.

For anyone who enjoys reading or writing, the clouds of late have been conducive to such activities. The pudgier and darker the cloud clover, the more introspective I become. But maybe that’s just me.

The Chappaquiddick Community Center will hold an open house and craft, etc. sale on Saturday, Nov. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. Stop by for some hot cider and a chance to visit with your neighbors in front of the fire. The 2011 Chappy photo calendars will be available for sale, or pick-up if you’ve pre-ordered. The revised Chappy recollections book will be available, as well as Lily Morris’s photo cards, and Shirlee Miller’s knitted items. There will also be a collection for the Food Pantry, so bring any unopened items (with unexpired dates) that you’d like to donate.

The 2011 Chappy photo calendars are full of stunning photos of Chappy’s serene and not-so-serene beauty. Some calendars have already been sent out, but if you haven’t placed your order yet, they are still available. If you didn’t receive an order form, you can download one from