“I miss you,” Wash said to me the other day.
“I miss you too,” I replied. “But I warned you, summers are crazy busy for me.”
“I suppose I can wait until winter to see you again, if I have to…”
Oh, yes, it’s July all right. I’m tits deep in zucchini and blackberries. Both children have been off of school long enough to be bored with all their toys and games, and their new favorite game is Poke the Sibling. It’s nearly time to start school shopping, and both kids have seen the dentist, thanks to my wonderful husband. Harvest season is hitting with a vengeance this year, with everything coming in a little earlier than usual, and with heavy yields too. Not that I am complaining – all this produce is our food for the coming winter.
We’ve had a holiday, and Moredena’s birthday, and in a couple of weeks it will be my birthday. There’s been a few Faires, and a Con, and a few hiking trips. We’ve been camping once already, and will be going again soon in a couple of days, and again at the end of August. My mother is a little more frail this year, and needs more and more of my time and energy. There have been other, more personal shake-ups, as well, things that have added stress and worry.
In short, it feels like we should be staring down September instead of August.
But somewhere, in the middle of the crazy and the busy, I took 4 entire, glorious days, and I left.
You see, for 361 days a year, I belong to everyone else.
And for half a week every summer, I belong to no one.
The husband encourages this. He gives me the money, tells me to spend it as I see fit. And I fill up my SUV, toss a backpack and a tent and a cooler in the back, and I check out for a while.
This summer, I went to Breitenbush Hot Springs.
I’d never been there before. It’s a long drive South of here, miles outside of Detroit Lake, at the foot of the central Cascades. On my way down, I stopped at Silver Falls and hiked. I got to the resort, set up my tent, and proceeded to unplug.
No cell phone. No kids. No Facebook. No calendar. No partners. No relatives. No weeding or canning or feeding or harvest or cooking or thinking, really.
Just me, and the bugs. And all the hippies. I dozed in the lazy heat. I soaked in the natural hot springs. I chatted with a lovely lady from Montreal and a really odd fellow from Seattle. She was thrilled to hear about my crazy poly life, he tried to convince me that I wouldn’t even miss meat if I ate enough dark, leafy greens. I managed to not consume enough food – it was a vegetarian only place and I can’t eat soy. But I drank enough water to sink the Ark.
I had a deer come within about 5 feet of my tent. I watched a different deer frolic in the meadow with her twin foals.
And I wrote. I had brought a notebook, and I wrote for hours and hours. And I knitted. I finished an entire project.
I spent three days at Breitenbush, and I enjoyed every minute. That time was exactly what I needed. But at the end of it, it was time to move on. I still had a little money in my account, and a whole day left to play. So on the last day, I had breakfast, and another chat with Allison from Montreal, and I packed up my tent and my sarong and headed West.
You see, if I don’t touch salt water once in a while, something vital within me starts to whither. And I needed more than anything to be on the coast.
I took Hwy 22 through Salem. I stopped at Grande Ronde for fuel and a Snickers bar. I hit Hwy 101 just South of Tillamook and headed North, my goal being to sleep somewhere north of Nehalem Bay. I found lodging at Manzanita, one of my very favorite places on Earth, and showered and set out to wander the town. I had a burrito at Left Coast Siesta and bought new pens at Salt and Paper. I walked in the cold Pacific waters until the joints in my legs hurt.
I slept deeply, and had my breakfast on the beach. And then, I headed inland. Hwy 26 East, to Portland. Hwy 217 through Beaverton, and a stop at Aaron Brothers for paper to use my new pens on.
And then, home, my husband waiting for me. A lovely dinner out and dessert at New Seasons. The kids off on an adventure of their own, with their grandparents. Back to my mostly disabled mother and my zucchini and blackberries and plums and cats and partners and projects for the yarn store and neighbors and Faires and life.
Back to the real world. The life I love to leave, once a year.
The life I love to return to, when I’ve found myself once again.
Adding a quick edit to say, many of my upcoming posts are going to be about my travels this summer. If there is anything specific you would like to see me address, please let me know in the comments!