Last week’s visit to cape cod put us on one of the finest beaches on the continent. We arrived on the beach late Saturday, near midnight, sliding down a vast slope of sand to the party at the base of the dunes. The music remained cautiously muted; our hosts anticipated the night’s conclusion, correctly as it turned out.
The local police visited us first, lurking about the cars massed in the parking lot. A ranger walked through with an ominous warning soon after. The mood grew pensive. Most of the eighty-or-so people slipped away then, all the non-trancers from Boston — students and hippies, mostly. The wiser participants wandered off the opposite direction, further down the beach where the darkness enveloped them. An interlude of rest then, listening to the roar of the waves echoing off the wall of sand behind us. Eventually our hosts retrieved us. The renewed party continued merrily for a few more hours, until Federal rangers swept powerful beams across the beach, pinning the crew and dancers in light.
What followed was an officious explanation of Rules and Regulations, invisible lines in the sand where jurisdictions ended, began, or were suspended. Threats of confiscation, ignored, then looming fines that were paid on the spot with collective nonchalance ((For the record, it came out to ten dollars a head. )). The officers warmed to their audience, then, and launched into an explanation of the rules; people are allowed to exist upon the beach, but music and the gasoline engine that powers it is not. So they forced us to turn the music off, but pay to allow the party to continue. Nice guys, really, if hopelessly nerdy.
All the while the local police lurked in cruisers beyond the edge of the parking lot, constrained by the imaginary borders described to us by the rangers. We did not leave; they waited impotently, then fled with the lightening of the sky in the east. I imagined them shaking a fist in the air as they drove off into the retreating darkness. Perhaps with a hiss.
The sun rose soon after, as us and the Sonic Beating tribe sat in tranquility. Seals came in from the ocean to watch the change with us, floating easily in the water before us. With the light came the hooping and the dancing, when the full majesty of the location was revealed. Truly amazing…the pictures taken by Dana (shown here) and myself do not do it justice.
This kind of experience is the norm for New England’s primary tribe; a talented crew in a beautiful location, obstructed only by the Puritans in positions of authority. The trancers remain tight-knit, their gatherings intimate. It is the best way to avoid detection, or deal with it properly when it occurs with annoying frequency. Whatever trouble comes is quickly forgotten in the transcendant dawn experience that follows. We didn’t really miss the music that trip, not even in the car on the way home later that afternoon.
- Link (photostream)