Friday, July 26, 2019

A Place to Unwind by Susan Aylworth

I grew up in the deserts of Arizona. My dad, a teacher, worked summers with the Forest Service and we spent those summers in the mountains. When I think of a place to escape the heat, or the crush of the city, or just the everyday pressures of life, I think of douglas fir and ponderosa pine, clear blue lakes, and hikes in the woods.

My husband is a native of San Francisco, born and raised in The City. From the top of the hill where his family lived, he could look out over the Pacific. For him, a get-away means cool evening breezes that smell of salt and walks along the beach, with a whale spotting here and there for kicks. Relaxation means limitless horizons. During the Fourth of July week, we went to the ocean.

Temperatures were perfect and the sea was showing off for us, as peaceful as its name. On the morning of July 2, we sat with other visitors on the beach at a California state park watching a juvenile gray whale hunt for his dinner in the cove nearby. Admittedly, it wasn't much to see: here and there a small spout, an occasional sighting of his back, and once a look at his long gray snout. I felt privileged that he shared that much with us, even for a short time.

We had other moments communing with the natural world. Three different times, deer darted out in front of us as we drove through the redwood forests along the coast. I'm grateful they always gave us plenty of space. Just slowing down meant we got to watch their graceful but powerful leaps and all parties still went on safely.
Ravens and gulls hunted along the shore as did ground squirrels and other small mammals. On rare occasions, we also caught a glimpse of the larger sea mammals that share those coastlines. Then too, there was always the sea. On July 3, we sat with a different group of ocean watchers as the sun sank behind the waves.

Our week along the seashore was altogether pleasant and a great way for both of us to unwind. Although I told my husband the trip was a gift for his birthday, coming later in July, I probably enjoyed the time as much as he did.

Besides, we already have a trip to the mountains planned for next month.  ;-)

Susan Aylworth is the author of 18 published novels. Her latest is SUNNY'S SUMMER, a sweet romance set in the Sierra foothills near her northern California home in the aftermath of the devastating #CampFire. She lives with her husband of 49 years, Roger, and one old, arthritic cat. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at, @SusanAylworth,, or Also on Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Susan, What a beautiful post! I've never been to San Francisco, but now I want to book a trip there. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Susan, I know what you mean about escaping to the mountains in northern Arizona to get away from the hot summers in the desert.

  3. I love to relax and listen to music.

  4. You trip sounds wonderful! I really enjoyed your pictures too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I too am a water girl. I grew up on Lake Ontario in Ny. My relaxation always comes from being outside. If there are nature sounds and water it is perfect.
    Your trip sounds like a great time! I am glad you enjoyed it so much.

  6. You've painted beautiful pictures in my head with your words! I feel like I was just on a vacation! Thanks!