If you have followed my blog for very long, you know that I write about the concepts of recreation and leisure and our ultimate pursuit of happiness.

The year 2020 has shown most of us that, like it or not, we are living in a new normal. Oh, how I resisted that notion! After all, isn’t “normal” being able to hike trails without wearing a mask or worrying if we are 6 feet apart from others?

Hiking in Valley of Fire State Park
More walking in the Valley of Fire

Isn’t “normal” having the ability to travel without fear of taking a flight to visit friends, family or traveling abroad? How about simply being able to use your local gym, campground, swimming pool or neighborhood park without fear of infection or the disappointment of closure?


The fundamental spaces and places we love and visit on a regular basis have been compromised due to the new normal of living within a pandemic.

For me, March 18 was the day California shut down, exactly 7 months ago.

Sacramento County has recently re-opened with some restrictions and I am so happy to be able to get back to my gym! I’ve been a member there since 2008 and have made many friends, and I get great workouts, too. One of my happy places. I will miss this gym once we move.

exercise equipment

As motivated as I am for physical activity, our hot smokey summer deterred me from being able to get outside. I tried my share of working out to youtube exercise videos, but I settled for walking the dogs a few days a week.

Walking two dogs

On my walks around my neighborhood, there is only one street in which I am fond. No, not mine, as you will read shortly, but a street a few short blocks away. This photo shows a morning walk in early Fall.

favorite neighborhood

There is something about this street with its well-kept yards, lack of chain-link fences, and fewer cars parked on the street. Really a gem in an otherwise deteriorating neighborhood. Autumn will show its lovely face on this street in November with elms, birch, and liquid amber trees that will look more like this photo taken two years ago.

liquid sunshine in liquid amber tree

As we kinda got used to our own backyards, many of us found them to be our new happy places. We longed for our vacations abroad, road trips in our RVs with abundant campground choices, open restaurants, and the like, but grudgingly stayed home to stay safe.

My backyard has been a happy place for me since June 2019 after my foot surgery, and then more so in late March, 2020. Here I planted sunflowers, plumeria, hydrangea and other garden flowers and enjoyed the hummingbird shows.

Sadly that summer, bound to my backyard by crutches and my knee scooter, I was exposed to one neighbors’ rantings and ravings as she loudly cursed her children and dropped the F-bomb all day. These were new renters behind us that shared our backyard fence, so there was no getting away from her. This behavior led us to begin our search for another place to live and inspired us to move to Washington to be closer to family and enjoy semi-rural living.

You will be happy to know that the renters were evicted after the owner discovered they destroyed the house! The new renters are quiet. The random shouts of happiness from their young children playing in their backyard is music to our ears! Their yard sounds like their happy place.

This Monday, we are on the road north with a moving truck full of boxes and furniture. Hubby is driving the U-Haul while I follow behind in his Ford truck. Our first stop is near Bend, OR, then we are back on the road Tuesday to Spokane. Wednesday we will unload into a storage unit and get that much closer to our new happy place.

We love this walk near where my in-laws live in Spokane Valley.

Spokane's Urban Forest

Even in the smoky air, there is beauty in nearby Washington’s Riverside State Park along the Spokane River. A short 15 minutes from our new home.

We won’t make the final move until mid-December.

Other happy places I’ve visited include Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, the delta and lakes, beaches, and rivers, near and far. But as 2021 approaches I am still open to find more happy places to discover and love!

Forgive me if what you’re reading sounds like my post “Happiest at Home,” published in early June. With our world turning the way it is, I predict we will continue to enjoy our happy places at home or close to it!

I am thrilled to link my happy places with this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge: My Hideaway!

Some images are inspired by Becky B’s Kinda Squares, Dawn’s Festival of Leaves, and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Is your happy place a state of mind or a place you can visit and enjoy? Share your interpretations through images, stories, poetry, and music!

Autumn SIGNature

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

102 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Your #Happy Place

  1. Lovely and fun, Terri! You have indeed seen some Happy Places I can see – and now you are moving to another Happy Place – hopefully! Good luck with your movig as well!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 Good luck with your moving! And if you are not going to grow a huge amount of vegetables – the size of my little house is just enough!


  2. Fabulous happy places, Terri. The street in Spokane is beautiful. My happy place has to be the neighbourhood at the moment, we’re on local lockdown but I’m looking forward to more normal too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with the move, Terri. Neighbors can be a blessing or a curse. We’re having a bit of that right now, but nothing like what yours sounded like. I feel bad for the kids on those situations. It’s so unfair on them.
    I hope you find more happy places up around Spokane to match those in the photos. Here’s my happy place today: https://grahamsisland.com/2020/10/18/two-step-revisited/.
    By the way, the stand alone square photo above the final gallery, seems to have lost its link and disappeared.


    1. Thanks Graham, we may need some luck with loading in the heat today! I had reserved the Uhaul last month for yesterday but they canceled the reservation for no reason. We were lucky to get today. Ill check out that image, thanks for the heads up!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Terri,
    Your pictures are as lovely as always. As you know, Helen and i spent the summer on the road in our RV and had a fabulous time. After every one of our trips, the first thing I usually do once I settle in, is drive about 50 miles south to the Cherokee National Forest. I have always referred to this setting as “My Forever Place.” I go there to regroup and to make sure it hasn’t changed. I’m never disappointed. Here is a picture of the Tellico River flowing from the North Carolina Mountains.

    Have a safe drive to Washington. Joe

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, Terri, home is definitely a happy place for me too. I, unfortunately, cannot walk alone on our neighbourhood street anymore as the crime in South Africa has escalated to such an extent that people are getting attacked on the road for their cell phones and any other valuables. I am pleased your are moving somewhere nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Terri, it isn’t so unusual for happy people to have multiple happy places, is it? Your variety, like mine, definitely has a central theme – the great outdoors! We will be heading to one of my happy places on Nov. 1st for a two-week stay and I can’t wait. I’m so excited for this next chapter of your life and look forward to following along as you make new discoveries.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad those renters moved! Wowza! You seem to have a lot of happy places, Terri. Since we don’t have a particular home or a yard, I have to think my happy place depends on my state of mind. That being said, I’ve never not been happy in nature (except when it’s incredibly buggy). I’m also happy surrounded by friends, when I can totally be myself. These days, my happy place is wherever I’m comfortable – physically (without pain and in a nice climate) and mentally (not stressed or in a rush). I guess that’s a good place to be? :-);

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many people are like you, Liesbet, with happy places being a state of mind. You and Mark embody this notion as well as you both choose where you want to spend your time. Hiccups happen along the way and we all just find the peace when abrupt change happens!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well as miserable as your former neighbors were Terri, it led you to a momentous decision to move to a new happy place – what a great adventure lies ahead! Thanks for linking to us, your subject is a perfect match for ours this week. Hope your skies have cleared by now, and please be very careful in the gym – we had dozens of cases tied to a gym in nearby Charleston this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s strange how life decisions are made by innocuous moments, Tina. Mostly clear skies, still too hot, but fall should show up soon! Our gym limits numbers and I go mid morning, masked and loaded with hand sanitizer. Too bad about the gym in your area 😒

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Agree agree agree. I did have the luxury of walking outside without a mask because my neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of walkers. We have walking trails and horse trails and if I run into a handful of people–mostly individuals–it’s a big day. Automatic SDing too. My biggest take-away was the quiet of civilization’s hum. Traffic noises were so much less. I could hear the birds. What a joy.


  10. Hi Terri, I am confident that because of your optimistic attitude you will find many new happy places. You will have so much exploring to do in your new home and will find many new parks or places to visit. I am sure there will even be a really nice gym! We have all had adjustments and one of the positive things I’ve found is joy in walking around your neighborhood or hanging out on the patio. We just bought heavy new winter coats and boots in preparation for walking this winter- especially if the virus continues to grow as it is currently. I had been back to the gym to swim but it is starting to feel less and less safe as our numbers for Covid are rising again. I wish you and Hans safe travels this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks for all those lovely, thoughtful words, Michele. Last May, when we were there, we drove around a nearby neighborhood and people outside waved at us. I kept telling Hans that they must think we’re someone else. Nope, just being friendly Washingtonian! Good for you to invest in fitness outfits for winter. The chlorinated pool water would deter any virus, but navigating through steamy locker rooms could be troublesome. Sorry to read covid cases are on the rise, more people indoors these days. We plan to buy some snowshoes for walking, and I already have some good winter hiking boots. My bigger dog loves the snow so no excuses for a walk!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, Terri. I’m so glad you’re moving to a happy place. It’s so important that home is an oasis of beauty and quiet. Best of luck on your move! I also love that shot of the sunflower just opening up and that beautiful neighborhood in Spokane.


    1. Thank you, Patti. This move had a couple of hiccups with the truck reservation but we are 5 hours from Spokane as I write this. I know sunflowers grow there, so I hope to grow some more of my own. Im enjoying autumn more every hour we drive north!


  12. Ahh, ‘Home Sweet Home.’ I’m with you all the way, Terri. And more so again given that yesterday we were informed of another lockdown starting on Oct 23rd until Nov 9th. Everything to close, expect essential stores. Plus, our clocks go back by one hour on Saturday night, so an extra hour in bed in my happy place.

    Your photos this week are full of freshness, light, and beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hugh! Those are happy places near to my heart. We’re far from home as we drive a big Uhaul moving truck toward Spokane, our new, eventual happy place. I’m so sorry to read about your new lockdown, what a drag! Yay, for an extra hour sleep (ours is 11/)! Im still missing it from last spring 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Home has always been my happy place but you are right, our backyards have become very special during this difficult time. My backyard is a refuge from the world.

    Glad your gym is a happy place. We have revisited our gym twice since February. Still cared to workout there. I used to dread going but always come out so happy that I went.

    Beautiful photo of the leaves!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Terri, you always have such an upbeat, happy attitude, making it a pleasure to read your post every day. Today is no exception, even with the observation about the renters behind you. You’ve got a great plan for moving and I can’t wait to see all the photos you’ll take of your new home. Stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

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