As the storm enters its 28th hour, snow totals and damage reports are adding up. There are breaches in the seawall in Marshfield and the dunes in Truro, flooding in Scituate and Sandwich, and closest to my heart-- the beach stairs at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham are washed away, again.
I have taken my four children to the beach at Nauset Light since they were babies. Just last month at Christmas time, my three grown boys visiting from other cities went to the parking lot at the beach on a stormy--though not a blizzard, day. The few dozen steps descending the giant dune from the lot were intact.
They're configured differently than they used to be on our Cape Cod vacations in the 1990s. Back then they went straight up and down, a workout even for the fit. It was so worth the effort. Here we were on a chilly evening in June.
Through the years those stairs got washed away in winter storms and were rebuilt by Memorial Day, over and over again. .On calm summer days it was difficult to believe the seas could ever be so angry and so high as to slap the sturdy structures from their footings. But while the stairs lasted two or three years at least back then, now they don't make it through a single winter anymore.
As soon as crews can get there, they will rope off the dangerous step to nowhere and begin the wait until spring when new steps will bring the visitors down to the sand again.
The low-slung bathhouse used to sit far the from the edge of the sandy cliff. Now, you can imagine the day when it, too, could fall into the surging seas. There used to be a scenic rose-lined walkway between the parking lot and the edge of the dune but it was washed away before my children were born.
Cape Cod is melting away and it is winter's fault.