The Rock

Just north of Rock Harbor in Eastham rests a large granite boulder deposited by an ancient glacier. This local icon witnessed the nearby "First Encounter" between a landing party from the Mayflower Company Pilgrims and the native American Nauset Tribe, December 8, 1620.


The Rock stands as a singular focal point in a horizontal landscape. Seen from afar at low tide, it acts as a navigation marker through the treacherous sand flats of Cape Cod Bay. At high water it is nearly under water, becoming a little island, a resting place for the gulls and cormorants fishing the mouth of Rock Harbor. Rock Harbor is located with a unique western exposure on the east coast of the continent, allowing residents to watch sunsets over the water of Cape Cod Bay to the west.


The Rock has been both a metaphorical and physical touchstone for me. As a kid growing up four houses from the harbor, the big rock was irresistible, at low tide we would make our way over to the other side of Rock Harbor creek, climb atop the rock and image we were on the back of a huge whale. As the tide came up we watched the water flow in and around the rock, waiting to jump off until the very last possible minute to avoid being stranded.


Over the years I have returned to it, the Rock remains much the same, with seaweed and barnacles coming and going over the seasons, the big diagonal crack remaining unmoved. Differences I find come from myself, a change in opinion or stance. Ways of seeing, casts of the light. Perception the shifting sands, the singularity of the Rock forever rooted in my imagination.