Day 5 at the Fowler Dune Shack, Thursday October 28th, 2010

Day 5

Yesterday’s drizzle and clouds were topped off by an incredibly loud thunderstorm that occurred, like clockwork, just as I was trying to fall asleep. Heavy rain beat down on the roof and every gust of wind seemed to rattle the front door so hard it sounded like someone was trying to force their way in.

It’s amazing how different it is being here at night vs. the daytime. During the day the solitude is wonderful, but about an hour after the sun sets and there is no longer any half-light, there is a menacing feeling you can become overwhelmed by if you allow yourself. I choose not to go down this path of thinking and generally succeed in calming myself by doing the following:

1. consuming alcohol. (Onto my 3rd bottle of red wine)
2. Switching on all the battery-operated lanterns I brought simultaneously
3. Lighting every candle and kerosene lamp in the shack
4. Blasting the radio

But, once I’m ready to sleep I mostly depend on earplugs to drown out the myriad sounds the shack seems to produce at night – the creaks and moans of the wood, and the scurrying feet of any potential rodents. So far I haven’t had any sightings, but field mice were constantly running in and out of the C-Scape shack during my time there, so I know they are not out of the question.

I was pleased to get out of bed this morning to find that the storm had relented. My surroundings seemingly returned to their non-threatening selves once again.

Barely recognize myself in the mirror. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without shaving. I’m curious to see if my beard will fill in, or if, as I suspect, my maximum facial hair potential will only reach Johnny Depp level. I decide to investigate the “shower.” This is a very rudimentary system that involves a large blue plastic barrel (pictured) which rests on a lower part of the shack’s roof. The barrel is connected to a hose which snakes down the slope of the roof and ends with a nozzle that hangs off the side of the roof. You can figure out the rest. This was an interesting experience nonetheless, and I did feel somewhat refreshed once I had finished violently shivering.

A note on the bathroom******There is of course no plumbing here, but the bathroom remains surprisingly functional and non-odor producing. There is a state of the art composting toilet which is attached to the shack. No flushing mechanism. A cup of peat moss each day seems to do the trick. (see picture!)

I hiked into Provincetown for a sanity check. The town is very empty, but not as empty as it will be in a few weeks. I sketched the fishing boats docked at MacMillan’s Pier for a while and then hiked out onto the breakwater jetty to my favorite lighthouse, Wood End Light. I made a small watercolor of the lighthouse (which I’ve painted many times before), but was eventually forced to head back due to the increased winds and the insufficient number of layers I was wearing.

While in town, I bought a large salad filled with cold, perishable ingredients. This description probably doesn’t sound so tantalizing, but my food options at the shack have been limited and I have started fantasizing about fresh ingredients, especially fresh, refrigerated ingredients. I was informed prior to my arrival at Fowler, that there was propane stove for cooking, but the propane refrigerator was broken and that there would be a Coleman cooler with a block of ice in it’s place. I wasn’t too heartbroken about the lack of a fridge due to my past experience of having one at the C-Scape shack. The “fridge” was more like a glorified cooler anyhow. I recall speaking with Sue Foss, the artist whose residency took place at C-Scape before mine, about what to expect at the shack. In describing the power of the propane fridge, she told me how each morning she would brew herself a cup of tea and then place it in the fridge. By 3 in the afternoon she had a glass of tea that was a slightly cooler temperature than it had been that morning. I had a similar experience during my trip at C-Scape when I stupidly tried to make a dirty martini. It was a lukewarm, briny disaster. What was I thinking?

I also find myself fantasizing about how good a real, hot, shower will feel. How amazing the concept of the faucet in my apartment back in the city is. Water comes out of it whenever I want? And I can use as much as I want? And I can control the temperature? AMAZING!