All my life I have never been much of a “beach person.” If you were to ask me whether I prefer the beach or the mountains, my answer without hesitation has been and always will be the mountains. When I think about the beach I think of hot, overcrowded tourist spots filled with obnoxious humans who don’t understand the concept of personal space. There is however an exception to this rule, and that is a Pacific Northwest beach.
More specifically, a Washington beach.
A Washington beach has people, and they might even become overcrowded, but something about their rocky shores and cooler temperatures make them feel a bit less…overwhelming. When I think of a Washington beach I think of an overcast day with waves crashing dramatically onto giant beached logs or rocks. A Washington beach is enjoyable during all seasons, but I love the tranquility during the cooler months when less people come out to play.
I also adore bundling up with a jacket, a blanket, or another person.
I’ve been spending more time on the beach lately, and while initially I thought I wouldn’t enjoy spending a full day lying around doing mostly nothing, these beach days have become a highlight of my week. For the majority of my life I have struggled doing “nothing.” I always needed something to fill my time, and the busy “go, go, go” way of life was ingrained into my system.
These days I am much better at sitting with stillness and allowing myself to just be.
The fact of the matter is, when we think we are doing “nothing” we are doing more than we realize. On these beach days I am actively resting after a week of too much human interaction, substantial physical activity, and the inevitable stressors that come with being alive. Most beach days I do try to stay active for a few hours in the morning, but the remainder of the day is lounge city.
One of my favorite beach days last month was a trip to Fort Worden, an old military establishment with bunkers dating back to WWI.
If walking around old, dark military forts doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is a beautiful light house from 1913 at the tip of the beach. I can only imagine the stories this lighthouse holds. I don’t know what it is about lighthouses, but I find them oddly mysterious. Perhaps it’s because they are rare these days, and their origins often date back further than three of my lifetimes, or perhaps I have watched too many movies with old abandoned lighthouses.
Either way, I find them fascinating and my imagination runs wild with the possibilities.
One of the many things I love about Washington is the ease of accessibility to the coast in multiple directions. Each beach is similar for the reasons I listed above, yet slightly different from one another. With each beach you can expect to find a different view, a different type of sand, less or more beach glass, and better or worse hidden nooks to sprawl out while fighting with the sand fleas for a spot on the beach blanket.
As summer gets closer I look forward to beach days turning into beach nights with some camping adventures. Now if only I could figure out how to include my cat on these beach outings…
Q: Are you a beach person, or a mountain person?