This week I am writing from my favorite place, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Greg and I are on our annual family pilgrimage to where sand and sea meet grandchildren and dogs. We stay near the beach every year.
This year, we’re in an efficiency unit with a minimal kitchen (two burners, no oven), but I am managing. Once I know what to expect kitchen-wise, I know what to bring. We eat well, regardless.
Our condo is in the thick of things, so pizza night is easy to arrange, and a great pub is just around the corner. My sister-in-law and her husband are in a small house a bit further toward the other end of town.
We booked in January, and while we didn’t get our favorite condo, this one is right on the beach—and I mean ON the beach. The view more than makes up for the minimal kitchen. Besides, the restaurants here usually accommodate those of us on a plant-based diet.
Cannon Beach is a beautifully laid out village, with flowers in every public place. These gardens are maintained by the city. It’s definitely a tourist town, easily walkable, and has a free transit system.
We visit the brewery and each of the several coffee roasters, window-shop in the numerous art galleries, and spend lots of dollars in the bookstores.
On Hemlock, the main street in town, we find a fabulous wine shop, my all-time favorite bakery, and an old-fashioned candy factory.
On years when we have grandchildren visiting, the most essential store sits just around the corner from our condo – Geppetto’s is every child’s favorite toy store. No grandparent can walk past it without stopping in. This store has a wide variety of board games and puzzles to keep everyone busy when the weather is more like fall than summer.
The weather is often cold and wet here, and those who vacation on the coasts of Oregon and Washington know to expect it. After all, we are on the eastern rim of the Northern Pacific, and the weather hits the coastline with all its force. Back home, we’ve had too many days above 90-degrees (over 32 degrees Celsius) so we’re enjoying the cool grayness of a normal summer. These last few years of heat and unpleasantness have not been my kind of fun.
I’m enjoying the cold grayness, but I admit that when the sun shines, it’s magic.
The view from our condo is one that never fails to soothe me. Tillamook Head is just off to the north. A mile out to sea, resting atop a sea stack of basalt, is the notorious Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, nicknamed “Terrible Tilly.” She’s had a long history of strife and tragedy. Although long closed to the public, she still stands today, battered and bruised. She stubbornly clings to life, providing a home for seabirds.
I spend a lot of time on the deck here at the condo, thinking, writing, and looking out to sea at my lighthouse friend. The Northern Pacific waters are wild and untamed. I watch the weather as it blows in, imagining stories about the pelicans and other seabirds who hang out on the sandbar opposite our condo. Seeing them, I think of what a beautiful world we live in.
My mind relaxes and plot knots that have driven me crazy for weeks untangle themselves.
When the wind rises, I go to the water’s edge and fly my kite. While I do that, my husband watches the seabirds nesting on the God-rock of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock.
Winters on this coast are notoriously awful, as the battering of Terrible Tilly tells us. But August is peaceful, with mists rising at dawn, sun all afternoon, and stars falling over the vast ocean.
When we arrive back in our inland valley every year, I miss this place, my spiritual home. This week will shine in my memories, a sliver of paradise outside of the pandemic, global warming, crazy politics, and the lousy economy.
For my husband, who has a neurological disease called Parkinson’s, it’s a place of rest and rejuvenation where he can easily get around and do things he loves. For me, it’s a retreat where I can write and relax.
We can just be the happy old people that we are.
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All images used in this post are the author’s own work and are copyrighted.