The Doctor and the Patient

December 3, 2014 6:46 PM

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Shipwrecks ever stir the soul. The intense isolation of being lost at sea is deeply penetrating. As I stare up over morning coffee at a watercolor of the British schooner Walter Millerthat was stranded and wrecked in a dense fog on Nauset bar off outer Cape Cod in the late 1800s, I can't help but think of the hopelessness of the moment.

Cape Cod is a graveyard for shipwrecks. Since the early 1600s, more than 3,000 ships have run aground in the treacherous shoals of the Cape's Great Outer Beach, from Provincetown to Chatham. Yet, turning despair into hope 121 years ago, the villagers queued up in a fierce nor'easter to shoot a rope ...

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