Next time you go out for a drive and you have a few spare moments, I have a suggestion for something for you to see. It’s in Edgartown but it should still be of great interest to Chappaquiddickers.

It will only mean something to you if you remember what the same place looked like a month ago. Go to the end of the road at the left fork at South Beach. This is where the sandy four-wheel-drive track leaves the pavement heading out to Norton Point and eventually Chappy. For as long as I can remember, the beginning of that route was in a valley with such steep sides that there was barely enough room to pass if you came nose to nose with another vehicle. The dune on the ocean side was more than 20 feet high in most places. About five years ago a new vehicle trail had to be created farther inland as the big dune migrated slowly inland.

Mother nature has taken it upon herself to smooth things out. The last two storms howled out of the south for hours on end. The tides were phenomenally high. The continuous onslaught of storm driven waves washed that big dune northward into the salt marsh between the herring creek and the new vehicle trail.

This spot is important to anyone who likes to drive out onto Norton Point but Chappaquiddickers especially value it as their second access to home. This route is not as susceptible to bad weather as the Chappy ferry route is. It’s open all night long, which means that the ferry schedule need not infringe on your right to party. Driving to or from Chappy “by the beach” takes more time than going by ferry unless the waiting lines are really long. It costs more in fuel and vehicle wear and tear. But it gives everybody who owns a four-wheel drive with up-to-date beach stickers stuck to its bumpers an alternative way to escape from one island to another.

Someday the ocean will have gnawed all of the way back to the Mattakesett herring creek bridge. At the current rate of erosion, I’m pretty sure that I won’t witness that. I’ll leave it to my grandchildren to remark casually that they used to drive over that little bridge that’s now serving as an over-sized picnic table halfway down the beach.

If you should find yourself awake before sunrise on the last day of this month, and the skies are clear, take a peek at the setting full moon. During the last hour before the moon sets, it will be in partial eclipse. Beginning at 6 a.m. the shadow of the earth will appear on the edge of the face of the full moon. The shadow will reach maximum just as the moon sets a few minutes before 7 a.m.

Mud season this year has been dragging on and on. Even when the air temperature barely touches freezing the puddles in the dirt roads are iced over. It must be because the ground beneath is still frozen solid beneath two inches of mud. There’s nothing slipperier than watery mud on top of frozen dirt. Not even anti-lock brakes can save you from sliding into the bushes on the outside of a curve at the bottom of a hill. At least with bare ice your tires eventually come into contact with the dirt at the edge of the road and get some traction. With this mud season, there isn’t any dry dirt to be had.

The harbors and ponds are finally free of ice after the relatively warm winds and rains of the past weeks. The only saltwater ice to be found these days are the thick chunks that got washed up onto the pavement of the Chappy point parking lot during the big storm of a few Thursdays ago. My son in law Erik Gilley used the loader bucket of a backhoe to scoop them up into a pile so that the parking lot became usable again. Mixed in with the ice floes are pilings and planks. The pile started out with a volume about equal to that of a VTA bus. As it melts down the marsh grasses imbedded in it have formed an insulating thatched roof. It should be completely thawed by Valentine’s Day.

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