Soul Stuck Place

Technically, I’m a fire sign. Sagittarius, if you must know, but you’d never guess it from where I find solace. Standing in a river, surrounded by the rushing sound of a creek, sitting by the edge of the ocean digging my toes into the sand… that’s where I find peace. It’s not so weird really I guess – there’s thousands of other people who find that same comfort and it is for this reason that waterfront homes are so expensive…

(Okay, I’m sure there’s other reasons too, but the root of it has to be our attraction to large bodies of living water.)

The Columbia River - not the ocean, but still a very large body of water! This is the first time I've stopped on the Western shore. Usually we pull over and smell the sagebrush at the Eastern side rest stop. Munchkin didn't mind, he quickly put some of the rocks on shore to good use.
The Columbia River – not the ocean, but still a very large body of water! This is the first time I’ve stopped on the Western shore. Usually we pull over and smell the sagebrush at the Eastern side rest stop. Munchkin didn’t mind, he quickly put some of the rocks on shore to good use.

Port Townsend is the place I’ve come back to year after year, starting when my parents divorced, and it’s a place that has come to mean comfort. Relaxation. Home, even though I live in Missoula. My craziest stressed out self yearns to slip away to Port Townsend the way an addict craves a fix.

Life is different there on the peninsula – at least to this mainlander. Traffic is slower by necessity. Winding two-way roads and thick vegetation mean you rarely go more than 60 mph.

Seattle from the Bainbridge-bound ferry.
Seattle docks from the deck of the Tacoma, on our Bainbridge-bound ferry leg of the trip.

We usually drive 65 mph on long trips no matter what the speed limit to maximize our gas mileage, but the rest of the world doesn’t see things our way. Sport cars, SUVs and tractor trailers alike speed past. We note the 400 mile mark on the odometer, fill up the gas tank and grin at each other, and get back on the road.

Despite our pacing though, I still feel the kinks in my shoulders unknot as we drive off the ferry and wait for the first light to change to green – the light that sometimes makes it necessary to wait through a few changes so the ferry can completely unload. Two lanes of traffic merge to one without impatient cutting, and we are on our way to get up close and personal with the seaside.

Someone built this arch on the beach at Fort Worden. You can actually find lots of these type of things - we found a zen-rock structure on another day. I was fascinated with this loved how they'd found just the right sticks for it.
Someone built this arch on the beach at Fort Worden. You can actually find lots of these type of things – we found a zen-rock structure on another day. They’d found just the right sticks for it.

This year all Munchkin can talk about is the “big boat named Ferry!” and I reassure him that we’ll ride it again soon. In the meantime, we retrace the steps that we take each time we’re here. Finding Waterfront Pizza, peering into the cases at Elevated Ice Cream (how I treasure the local ice cream shops we find when traveling! I’ve decided to start collecting their postcards.) and making our slow way down to the sand to dig our toes in. We bring it home in the crevices of the sand toys and underside of the picnic blanket and smile as we shake out a little bit of Port Townsend to merge with our Missoula soil.

Okay, so I arranged this one, but I loved the juxtaposition of the bleached shells with the tiny purple flower.
Okay, so I arranged this one, but I loved the juxtaposition of the bleached shells with the tiny purple flower.

Like the sand, the town sticks in my soul.

2 thoughts on “Soul Stuck Place

  1. Kota, I am too a Sagg and the place I feel most grounded is standing/floating in a body of fresh water or staring out into the Big Blue. It’s because it’s our opposite!

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