By Teresa Verde
We walk on the beach realizing, “We’re not on vacation. We live here.”
The constant cacophony that once filled our heads with deafening sound has been replaced with a steady stream of cries from the seagulls, frequent calls from the Canadian geese or that rare nightly serenade from our resident owl. We heard the distinct screech of a heron on takeoff from the shore on a first visit to this place. Our builder tells us pheasants roam freely during their season.
I turn onto Mountain View Road and Mt. Baker is so close it seems I can reach out and touch it. We return home via Peace Portal Drive, and its northern exposure is so magnificent, it drains any remaining stress of city living straight out of my being. I am moved to the point of tears. Surely we have reached heaven.
My hair is silky smooth. Significantly less frizzy. I conclude it’s the absence of fluoride in the water. I go longer before I need to wash it. I no longer have to boil my drinking water or buy water from fresh mountain springs. Water is life. This is all good news.
And I-5 is just a two-lane highway with a few cars on it.
We moved here from Seattle and we feel like we’re living a dream; it’s so different.
I’ve always been drawn north. I’ve only lived in the northern corners of the US, in picturesque spots of New England and in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. So when Seattle morphed into something I could no longer recognize, it was time to meander upwards.
People ask us why we choose Birch Bay, and I say we just kept looking north. We moved to escape the traffic, the noise, the congestion and the expense; to live closer to the nature I fell in love with when I moved from Boston to the Northwest many years ago and to find a population that is still friendly. I left the rude East Coast for a reason.
My husband Rex had a great “Aha!” moment recently sitting quietly at home to why we love it here so much. “No one’s on their phone.” Of course, people have phones and use them, but when we take walks, others are just taking walks as well; they smile and say “hello.” They’re walking their dogs on the beach. Or communing with a friend. Or on their daily fresh air jaunt along the beach drive.
In Seattle, they’re on the streets with their faces buried in phones. While waiting in line for a networking event, my friend saw every participant with eyes glued on their device. She attempted making a warm up connection, or just eye contact and a smile, but no go. It’s the urban culture now – even while networking!
I won’t trash my former city. It was a life that was good to us. But it is no longer. We celebrate a new life in a place we already adore.