At first my daughter and I called them mini-vacations, then we switched to getaways, and finally simply “away.” Nothing fancy but a must was the second floor, a double queen-bed room with a balcony, and a water view.

First “away” was to Port Angeles, Washington. We brought our laptops, books, binoculars, warm clothing, and our electric kettle and my small espresso machine. We’re early risers and weren’t taking any chances on the Red Lion’s provisions. We sat on the balcony with hot coffee and tea in mugs at 5:30 AM waiting for the day to arrive, watching huge cargo ships, the lights of Victoria coming on, and the arrival of the day, heralded by seagulls. It was chilly but worth it to sit and stare into the lifting fog, the silence broken only by a foghorn and a ship’s rumble. And, of course, we watched the Black Ball ferry to Victoria, B.C. come and go.

One afternoon we walked around the downtown area. With fresh eyes, I saw and appreciated the struggle small businesses went through in the Covid lockdown and after as they are slowly coming back.

One day we drove out to Lake Crescent – our first Adirondack chair session and a walk to Marymere Falls. Then back to dining on our balcony, bird watching, and a peace I haven’t had since Covid. On our last day, back to the ferry (and grateful it was running) we stopped off at the Dungeness Spit.

I’m not called “little eagle scout” by my daughters for nuttin’– I spotted a pair of them in the trees. Beach walking, birdwatching, and sea air – we were, as they say, happy as clams to be away. We never opened our laptops, books, or looked at our phones that often. We were somewhat sad to head for home but we still had one more two-nights “away” up on the Semiahmoo Spit to look forward to.

This time we didn’t bother with the laptops or books but did bring the required tea and coffee makings for our pre-sunrise balcony sit. In our room I mistook a small safe for a microwave – doh! You can tell “I don’t get around much anymore” or at least not to resort-type hotels.

Rinse repeat the “away” – up on the second-floor balcony, in our chairs, hot beverages in our mugs, waiting for the fog to lift, and the day to arrive courtesy of many varieties of gulls. As the fog lifted, we headed out for wonderful beachcombing, long trail walks, and the resident harbor seals and cormorants sharing a long, wooden dock, plus numerous herons. I’m not that great on bird ID but in our “away” state of being it didn’t matter. I loved looking at them, especially the herons. On our first night we were supplied by the hotel with the fixings for s’mores at a beach campfire. Not quite the same as when I was a girl scout.

One day we took a long walk on the Drayton Harbor side of the Spit and were surprised to see the Peace Arch, the border crossing into Canada, White Rock, Point Roberts, and Blaine a short distance across the water.  One of us took a hotel-provided bike out for a spin, one of us was too wobbly – something about breaking old bones.

On our last day we found Adirondack chairs nearly on the beach and with the tide so far out, we watched gulls scoring clams and crabs, herons nabbing fish (shake, flip, swallow, down those long necks), and a late lunch in Blaine at the Bordertown Mexican Grill – yum!

I’ve never been on two “aways” like this before – the slowing down, the love, laughs, and comradery with my daughter, sitting or walking with absolutely no agenda, no shopping, the emptying of thoughts, and shedding the strain of the last few years. And those herons – they are my new model for patience and concentration – little by little the reward is there but only if you’re prepared to wait for it.