I imagined February would be a month of open spaces, of quiet hours, of fewer occasions to gather, celebrate, and communicate. It turned out to be one of the most social months for us. So many good things! But now we're eager to draw deep breaths and be quiet. In honor of that, we're sharing some of the places we go in Tacoma to be slow - to read or write, or walk, or sit - and even a place we haven't tried yet (but maybe you have, and we will one day). Take a look.
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number One: Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park
This beach is so good, even on rainy winter days. There's a dry and wet version of this recommendation. To stay dry, bring coffee or tea in a thermos, pack your journal or a book, let the dog hop in, and then just park in the row of spots closest to the beach facing Commencement Bay. Rain will stream on your windshield, but you'll be dry, and you can still see the waves, can watch seals surfacing, can see birds riding driftwood carried along with the current.
If you're up for a beach walk in the rain, or maybe you even landed here on a dry day, the best stretch of beach is the north end, towards the point (just be sure to watch the tide as every good northwesterner should). Pass under and over fallen tree after fallen tree. Last time we went, sea lions huffed and barked while birds swooped and called and there were always so many seals silently staring. There may be other people here, but in the winter it's never a crowd, just other souls appreciating the same thing you went to find.
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number Two: King's Books, 218 St Helen's Ave
King's is one of Tacoma's most beloved community book stores. It's a haven for readers of all kinds. Find some books from the front tables featuring new titles, or from the staff picks shelf, or from the thousands of used volumes, then choose a chair, pet a cat, and stay a while. When you're ready, take your book along home and continue page after page of quiet from the comfort of your couch.
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number Three: Your Library
Unique neighborhood branches of the Tacoma Public Library wait for you all over the city. They want to be your friend. They give you piles, and stacks, and armloads of reading for free! Find the one closest to you, or just the one you like, and spend some time. Lots of the branches have events if you'd like to be quiet with other people. Otherwise this is a good, warm, low-budget place to go and sit and be left alone. Libraries are so wonderful!
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number Four: Mad Hat Tea, 1130 Commerce St
Although there are many beloved coffee shops in Tacoma, Mad Hat Tea came to mind when we started thinking of quiet places. Located on bustling Commerce Street, Mad Hat is another world inside. The tea itself, served in delicate china cups, tells you to be slow, to take care, to sit and sip, and the place offers plenty of room for this. If you'd like a chat stay up at the tea bar, but do not chat on your cell phone. You may enter the phone booth (for real!) or go outside if you decide to answer your phone. If you're not up for rubbing elbows. keep on walking to the back room for lamps, sofas, small tables, and solitude. Bring your library book, or the volume chosen from King's, or your journal and settle in for some pages.
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number Five: SKY, 739 St Helens Ave
This is the quiet spot I haven't experienced yet, but I know I'll find my way there. For the past couple of years there's been a lot of at-home yoga practice in our household, but SKY really calls my name with its spirit of community outreach. Samdhana-Karana Yoga (SKY) is a non-profit yoga community, which is pretty special in itself. At SKY there's an emphasis on inclusion; they even have 4 donation-based community classes each week. That means you can drop in, pay as you're able, and experience SKY. Try SKY's donation based Meditation on Sundays from 9:15-10:45 am. image above from @skytacomayoga
Tacoma Quiet Spot Number Six: Titlow Park
Titlow is last, but absolutely not least as we think of the places we go when we want fresh air, quiet chats, birds, waves, paths, and mossy trees. This is a park we can walk to from our own front door, so it's a favorite place to take our dog, Dandie. Make sure to go deeper than the playground and lagoon area to explore the paths and the beach. Last week I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet in the brush, and a bald eagle, cormorants, crows, and gulls at the beach, and mallards in the lagoon. There's often a kingfisher hanging out there as well. You don't have to like birds though. As long as you like saltwater, evergreens, alders, pussywillows, and madronas, fresh air, and the beach you'll be all right.
We'll see you again with a new blog post next week. In the meantime (whether you're recovering from an eventful February or not), find some rest, or solitude, or silence. Be quiet. Drink a cup of tea, follow a path, walk the beach, read a book, write your poems and letters and pages of notes, say hello to the birds and branches and stones and waves. All the best.