Last week marked the post-Covid resumption of much-missed extended family visits. My house was again busting at the seams with siblings, their children, and their children as well. Back again were the sounds of laughter and lighthearted chatter that mark the joy that comes from reconnecting with family and remaking traditions adapted to new generations (who cares that the height marks on the kitchen wall reflect two years of growth instead of the usual one-year interval?).

Even though the weather was far from postcard perfect, the week was a reminder that kids don’t much care about perfect weather. Kids are drawn to the same things that draw us all to the Cape in the first place, the warmth and feel of the freshwater pond after a day of enjoying the waves and salt on the beaches, the opportunity to look out across the pond and see turtles, eagles, osprey, and herons–all at the same time, and the sheer diversity and subtle beauty of the range of native plants and birds that we can find in our yards. Looked at through young eyes, and explained to yet another generation, our house and its environs took on a new freshness that served as a great reminder of what a wonderful place we experience daily.

All of this happened against the backdrop that it almost didn’t. Our beloved pond was more than a week into a use restriction due to a cyanobacteria bloom when family arrived. The prospect that my great nieces and nephew would not be able to splash around in the pond that they had waited two years to return to was a bitter pill to swallow. Fortunately, the bloom subsided, and the kids eventually ended up in the water and had a great time. That said, I return to work with both a renewed appreciation for all that the Cape Cod environment has to offer and a refreshed sense of urgency to do what needs to be done to make sure that everyone’s kids, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends can jump in every bay and pond whenever they want.