Day 27 is my favorite place.
As usual, I don’t have a singular favorite, so I’ll pick one from the list of my most-loved places: Eureka, California.
Eureka is in the north, about two hours south of the Oregon border, and right along the coast. It’s not so much the town that draws me there but the entire area. The northwest coast, the land that stretches from Eureka up to Seattle, Washington, is incredible. It is gorgeous in a way I didn’t know existed until I saw it myself.
Eureka itself is nice; it’s the perfect size for me, big enough to have convenience and options while staying small enough that people still look you in the eye and run indie shops. The Old Town quarter is fantastic and full of nooks and crannies that cradle awesome things, like a little gourd kalimba that kept a part of my heart after I played it. The temperatures are wonderful, ranging from 50-80*F throughout the year, with plenty of rain and mist from the ocean.
But the land around Eureka is what’s so wildly magical. The redwoods reach to the sky like columns holding up the planet’s roof; beneath them, the air is still and silent and somehow sacred. Fallen boughs and trunks can be taller than you and me, and it would taken half a dozen people to link hands and wrap arms around a standing tree’s base. Moss and ferns grow everywhere and make everything a lush green, and wherever the sunlight is blocked from the canopy, the ground is covered with natural debris in the midst of composting into soil. It’s so quiet away from the roads, some combination of church and library and empty mountain peak. I felt so young among these trees that are a hundred times my age.
And the ocean, oh, the ocean. Not only are these incredibly green forests everywhere, not only does the wind smell of brine and mist, not only does the land rise in fall in voluptuous hills, there is the ocean with all its wonder. The water’s very cold almost all the time, so far north, but it licks at the sandy shores regardless of how many toes it’ll numb and how many children will go shrieking away from the surf. There are innumerable hidden crevices along the coastline, inlets rimmed with rock where other people don’t go, where there’s just sand and seaweed and shells and surf.
I fell in love with the land, and the town of Eureka, as soon as I first saw it. And I am still in love.