Sometimes running away is the best way to find yourself.

The stress of (gestures wildly) everything has brought me right up to the edge of the abyss. There’s such an onslaught of happenings that I’ve had no time to process any of it—not the good, the bad or the ugly. It’s affecting me physically and my energy is so low that it’s difficult for me to even muster up the motivation to exercise. I’ve been having weird out of body experiences and sometimes my bones feel like they’re melting. Yesterday morning, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Quarantine is hard, yo. When my husband took the puppy out for a walk, I finally texted him with I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE.

So we did.

Saying goodbye to mom, the cats, the dog and the chores, we headed west, first to grab coffee from our favorite coffee shop and then onto the freeway toward the ocean. Once in the coast range, we took the jeep up muddy tracks, down over boulders and through mudpuddles so big they could swallow a house. We weren’t going to grandma’s house; we were running away. We visited a drippy, lonely horse camp, found an epic walking stick at a hidden trail head and went in search of a waterfall that we never found. We checked out fishing holes along the river and my husband told me stories of taking our son to those same holes. We watched a man catch and lose a salmon. We got muddy. We gulped deep breaths of verdant forest air and let the mist settle down around us.

We never made it to the ocean. Instead, we grabbed a huge bag of delicious greasy food that included pork belly sandwiches, cheese curds, soft pretzels and tots, along with a couple of pints of cold IPA’s from Pelican Brewery and tailgated at Memaloose on the Tillamook Bay. We listened to classic rock and talked and talked about our kids, our new puppy and plans for our future. We didn’t talk about covid or politics.

I wish I could say our outing left me peaceful and rested, but that would be stretching it. It was, however, a lovely, much needed respite and I do feel grounded enough to survive the few weeks. Note to self. More of this please.