Project Ocean Bellingham – A Long-Awaited Hug

June Gloom

Filming in California for the first week of June means we’re going to come back to Virginia with jealousy-inducing tans to last the rest of the year. 


Rod and I had visions that Project Ocean production would have us cruising down Highway 1 with the windows down, sun on our faces, salt in our noses, living our best West Coast life. 

We did spend a large portion of time on Highway 1…with the seat heaters fired up and the windshield wipers rocking to and fro. At my peak, I had four layers on. As a result, I am now begrudgingly familiar with the “June Gloom” phenomenon. Everyone we met during our eight-day Cali stay threw the term around like it was a fact older than time. I was not, unfortunately for me, so acquainted with this weather rhythm during the packing phase of our trip. 

Now I know. 

Next stop: Bellingham, Washington. This is less than half an hour from the Canadian border. Heading further north was sure to make my thin Southern blood problems worse. I was braced for the tundra. 

Unexpected Embrace

When we hopped out of our rental onto the hill overlooking a shiny Bellingham Bay, I was greeted with a hug from long-lost friends. 

The sun. The 60s. 

I always tell people that summer is my favorite time of year because nothing beats the sensation of walking outside and having it be hotter than it was inside. It feels like the Earth is hugging you. I have yet to meet anyone who exactly follows my logic. If you can relate, please let me know and we can be friends. 

The warm bliss immediately drew us toward the water. It was stunning. Our interviewee from RE Sources, Jay, said that “this area is as advertised in the postcards.” And he was right. 

Sloping mountains rose gracefully out of the watery horizon, caretakers of all life below. Uninhibited afternoon sunlight danced across the aquatic playground amongst the paddleboarders, kayakers, sailors, pedestrian bridge onlookers and carefree teenagers cannonballing off said bridge. Every clumping of trees beckoned with a seemingly secret peek into its own unique landscape vantage point. Everyone was moving a little slowly. It was as if the realization that – even if they had somewhere they needed to be, it wasn’t going to be better than here – evaporated any instinct to rush. To be in a crowd where everyone acts as though they’ve already arrived is unique. 

On Bay Time

Rod and I rhythmically followed suit in our response to the scene surrounding us. Have you ever been somewhere that simply demanded you to stop in awe? Such is the power of expansive peacefulness. We took a long time on that shoot. We collected far and away more footage than we needed, and we knew it. We were on track to be up and at it for 22 hours that day and really needed to hit the road to our hotel in Seattle before we were sure to fall asleep at the wheel. 

But we couldn’t be pried away, as this was a deeper rest than sleep. 

The RE Sources team shared with us all the ways they advocate for this slice of paradise, everything from policy to water quality monitoring to volunteer cleanups. They spoke of the sense of pride folks feel to call northwest Washington home, and the soul level motivation this brings to care for what they love. It took about five seconds to understand this pride and the depths from which it wells up. Even the geese seemed to hold their heads a little higher here. 

There are those sweet seasons of life when you just know you’ve got a good thing. For the folks in northwest Washington, that may be the gray rolling waves of the mountain-encased Bellingham Bay. For the rest of us, that good thing looks different. Maybe it’s the endless plains of the Midwest or ringing the bell at the hospital or the view at our dinner table. Whatever it is, it’s never enough just to know it. 

Good things are meant to be stewarded, not simply consumed. So, let’s follow RE Sources’ example and get to work protecting what makes us proud. 

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