The drive down to Cannon Beach for an overnight stay had been good. Everything was taking place more positively than one might have thought. The couple stops along the way brightened the trip when getting coffee at Dutch Bros and picking up pizza at Fultanos. Checking into The Hallmark following the five-hour drive took place with unexpected ease. After making it to the beach, there remained things to accomplish. The priority remained one of clearing my head space. There would also be the goal of accomplishing some writing before heading back home. The weather was slightly overcast upon arrival, but the lack of precipitation provided hope for wondering along the shore. Having stayed at The Hallmark many times, the room was familiar. It was smaller than it normally would be, as most often I’m with my mom and brother. The room overlooked the beach with a bed and table. The small circular table to be used for eating and writing in my case. My trip would invariably involve visiting my favorite spots in town, the bakery and candy kitchen, but those stops would happen in the morning. For now, my agenda included eating some pizza and heading down to the beach before the light disappeared.
It took a few trips to pack my things into the room. A bag, backpack, some water, and the large pizza all came in from the car. After everything was safely into the room, out onto the balcony I went. The view was great of the Oregon Coastline. Haystack Rock was present in all its glory emerging from the sea. The beach wasn’t too crowded, although people could be seen in either direction wondering the beach. All variety of groups, couples, or individuals were walking the shores of the Pacific, as I looked from my left to right. Dogs could be seen running about in the surf, chasing anything that caught their attention. I stood breathing in the smells and letting the sounds of waves crashing wash over my senses. The weather felt good enough for an evening walk and the temperature seemed to call for a sweatshirt. Already feeling a sense of rejuvenation by standing on the balcony, I headed inside for something to eat. My balcony door remained open, allowing the ocean sounds to fill the room. A couple pieces of pizza would be appetizing before heading for the beach.
The route down to the beach would be steep. The Hallmark Resort sits on a bluff overlooking Haystack Rock above the sand. A fairly steep staircase is the most common way to get down to the Pacific. It is a staircase I have descended many times, but always leaves me feeling nervous. The steps seem to be short in width, making them challenging to balance on. While not every set of stairs requires reaching for assistance from the railing this one does. Approaching the stairs reaching for the railing is the first thing on my mind. I slowly navigated down the steps and onto the Oregon sand. Wind was gently passing around me while making my way through some dry sand. Once the wet sand was reached, which felt more stable under my feet, I turned south for a walk. The crisp air and sounds of the sea cleared my thoughts with each step. There has often been a feeling of safety walking on that beach and this time was no different. Instead of pondering the troubled relationship leading me to the escape, my mind thought of more positive people. The people in my life who help me grow, rather than wanting to take from my peace. The sea truly does help heal the mind.
Walking through the dry sand toward the stairs provided emotions of satisfaction. The first walk of my trip had accomplished the goal. My heart had become re-centered and hope slowly injected itself into my emotions. Climbing the stairs left me feeling like writing may be a possibility once back into the room. One reason for the escape was feeling like without it my weekend could have melted into an unproductive mess. So, once back inside my room, the laptop was plopped onto the small circular table. My piece for the week had been started, but progress would be required that evening and the following morning. The early stages of grieving can creep up on us, bearing a heavy emotional load. Though during that trip to Cannon Beach, it didn’t occur to me the process was beginning, but I knew sadness had crept into my world. It also seemed getting swept away in those heavy emotions could interrupt the production of life. My hope was the possibility of inactivity, due to the sadness, could be smothered by the quick getaway. Allowing the responsibility of writing to continue carrying each week without the interruption of heavy emotions. Surprisingly, as I sat in front of my laptop a sense of calm surfaced. The balcony door was cracked enough for the ocean sounds to fill my soul. Writing came easier than expected on that night and by the end a satisfaction of accomplishment provided restful thought. My laptop was closed, the balcony door remained open, and the peaceful sounds of the sea lulled me to sleep.
The productivity of the night before provided for a stress-free morning. There wouldn’t be reason to write before heading home from the beach. The writing piece could be finished after arriving home. So, my morning could be spent going for another walk on the beach and casually packing to leave. Following the morning stroll along the sand, packing up was relatively simple. Not much has to be gathered when the stay lasted less than twenty-four hours. A couple trips were made to the car and one last scan of the room was performed. There would still be a couple stops to make in town before my trip north. The Cannon Beach Bakery was first on my list to grab a maple bar for breakfast. A bakery maple bar began almost every morning spent in Cannon Beach. Almost like tradition, it was virtually a mandatory stop. Following the bakery would be another tradition before leaving the small coastal town. The coconut haystacks at Bruce’s Candy Kitchen were another must in Cannon Beach. The candy has been a part of my life since childhood. Often picking up a pound to take home and keep in the freezer. So, I checked out of The Hallmark and continued to make my two stops in town. The friendly people had me smiling, as I picked up the donut and box of chocolate candy. The town was quiet while slowly making my exit. I traversed the onramp to highway 101 and was headed north munching on the maple bar.
Sometimes a quick trip away can be everything someone needs. For me, the overnight trip to Cannon Beach helped clear some things in my mind. At the time, it wasn’t totally understood why getting away was important. As I write this blog a month after that last minute get away, the reason becomes clearer. The heartache is healed by the sea, once was written in a song. Though the walks by the Pacific didn’t completely heal an aching heart, the process was begun during those fourteen hours. It’s funny how some of us venture toward the familiar when grief becomes upon our lives. Cannon Beach certainly fits that description. It was a place of my youth and has become a healing place of my present. All the trappings of the trip helped begin the challenging process of letting go. The coffee and pizza along the way, with a familiar place to stay, the morning maple bar and candy to grab before heading home. Hopefully we all have places making us feel safe. Where we can knowingly or unknowingly begin, a life changing journey.