Monday, March 28, 2016

The Beach is Best for the Soul

Weekends away from home are so vital to my sanity. Even more, weekends on the Oregon Coast are even more essential. Something about being in a small beach town, where the weather is either amazingly beautiful or amazingly awful, where I can relax or explore, be lazy or adventurous. The beach is just my favorite place. 

I drove to Pacific City this Friday and before I even hit the freeway, I was thrilled by the sunshine and warm weather. It has been years since I drove all the way to the coast with the windows down, a warm breeze blustering outside. It's funny the way that something as simple as rolling down the window of my truck can thrill me, change my mood for the better. 

My plan for the weekend was to do a lot of reading (I brought three new books), a lot of lounging on the porch with a good white wine (I took three bottles), and some scenic driving between a few beach walks. I pulled into town and hit my favorite local store before heading right to the beach for a quick barefoot walk in the warm sand. I don't even remember the last time it was warm enough on the coast to leave shoes and a sweatshirt in the car, and walk the coastline in my tee shirt. 

After my walk and shop, I headed to my aunt's beach house, which in itself is bursting at the seams with my favorite memories of my teen and young adult years. Intending to curl up with a blanket and a chilled glass of wine on the porch, I instead found myself texting my cousin to please bring her son and join me - apparently quiet and well-rested was not my actual plan for the weekend. I did snuggle up on the couch with a new book, where I devoured chapters of my new book while I waited for them to make the drive after dinner. 

I've written before about the fact that my cousin Stacey is my best friend, and there is something about spending a beach weekend together that reminds me so much of our beach trips together in high school and college. And I love that we get to include her rugrat in our adventures. Stace and I together have climbed the dune at Cape Kiwanda about a thousand times, and hearing Blake encourage himself up the hill in the sunshine all afternoon, just makes me happy. When we climbed to the top, just as Stace and I have done a million times, he took in the view, wandered around, excitedly pointed things out. 

Where Blake differed from Stace and I was on the descent. Blake was not on board with running and jumping down the dune, despite us telling him that we used to somersault down the whole hill.

The rest of the weekend was just as fun. Pizza at Doryland, an Easter egg hunt in the beach house, some reading, a warm fire for the cat to curl up in front of, and a hunt for little bunnies in the courtyard of the RV park near the cape. While my intention was a quiet weekend by myself, Stace and Blake were welcome changes to the plan. 

I always feel refreshed after a long weekend (or even a short one) at the beach, but especially in Pacific City. I love it there. I love the way every nook and cranny of the cabin reminds me of my grandparents, the way everything in town takes me back to a walk with my grandma, a drive with my grandpa, or a weekend of fun with my cousins. The drive there, music turned up loud, heat blowing on my flip-flopped feet, is therapeutic, like leaving my troubles behind. The drive home, while I dread that back-to-reality feeling as I pull back into Hillsboro, is equally good for my soul. 

This weekend was nothing short of excellent. Quiet, loud, peaceful, adventurous, fun, exhausting...fantastic. I love sharing my favorite part of being a kid, with the kids in my life now. I love spending the time with my family, love the solo drive, love watching my cat explore the beach house and spend hours baking her belly in front of the fireplace. Everything about Pacific City relaxes and inspires me, and I am grateful for every moment spent there.