My recent interaction with goats got me thinking about the scene in the 1965 movie “The Sound of Music” where Maria and the Von Trapp children stage a marionette show about a lonely goat herd. Having not seen the musical in some time, I thought it was time for a revisit.
As a side note, in the early years of building a career in Theatre Costuming, I worked backstage on a production of “The Sound of Music”, and later spent five years working for a Theatre company that primarily featured musicals. Although I don’t work in Theatre any longer, the Fine Arts will always remain a big part of who I am and the topic will continue to pop up in blog posts in the future.
If you haven’t seen “The Sound of Music”, or if it has been awhile, the movie opens with Maria, played by the lovely Julie Andrews, in a grassy field up in the stunning mountain landscape of 1938 Austria, singing of how she goes to the hills when her heart is lonely. She is reminded of what she loves so much about them, and it restores her spirits.
Feeling a little down and out this past week, I had to stop and ask myself where I go when I need to lift my spirits.
I’ve moved around quite a bit in years past. To truly establish myself somewhere new, I find it takes me about two years to get truly settled. I’ve not always been in one place for two years, so my introverted self who values developing deep connections, has had the experience of living somewhere and feeling that lonely heart. Good thing I love quiet endeavors, eh? My number one uplifting experience has always involved exiting my front door and exploring. Even when I’m not able to venture far and wide, I’m always amazed by how much funky stuff there is out there–even in my own neighborhood–when I go looking for it.
Some call these ventures artist dates, which I will explain in a later post. But I’ve always been wired up to find restorative solo activities for most of my life–even before I even heard the words, artist date.
Originally from California, my first experience with the Pacific Ocean was as a teenager. I lived in San Jose and trips to nearby Santa Cruz, with the beach boardwalk, and Monterrey (known as Steinbeck Country) were close at hand to experience. I have such strong, positive memories associated with being near the water, that living in the desert for two years after my divorce was extraordinarily difficult.
While living in Tucson, Arizona, I searched for somewhere I could go to restore my spirits. I explored, and was able to find some interesting places. I enjoyed the museums and historical sites, landmarks and nature preserves. But I always found myself a little bit more lifted when I discovered reminders of my beloved Pacific Ocean.
It became obvious after a year of being in the desert, that I needed to return to the West Coast. When an opportunity to work in Seattle presented itself, I leapt at it.
While it took me some time to adjust to going from cactus to evergreen, from extreme heat to rain and winters with the possibility of snow, I felt more at peace being closer to the ocean and knowing I could get to it when need be.
This last weekend, it dawned on me that it’d been a long time since I’d gone somewhere to restore my spirits. With the events of 2020, it’s been challenging to remember that sometimes you need to pause from “survival mode” and realize that taking time to run to the hills like Maria to catch a breather from it all, is equally important.
So that is what I did. I grabbed my Greyhound, Vienna (who writes for this blog as well), and we did some exploring. We ended up finding a big body of water (the next best thing when you can’t quite make it out to the sea), and although it was overcast and cold, it was exactly what I think we both needed, actually.
The sounds and smells of Puget Sound along with the presence of seagulls is something that makes me feel incredibly at home. It will be a happy place for me, for sure.
I need to make this exploring for water a habit for the remainder of 2020, as much as I’m able.
At the end of our trip to the Mukiteo Lighthouse Park, we stopped at our local Starbucks and a familiar barista asked me how my day was going. I mentioned that we’d been to the water and this sparked a conversation about “doing something different”. Even the barista acknowledged that it’d been some time since he’d made an effort to just break up the habit of every day life with something uplifting.
Where do you go when your heart is lonely? Have you gone there recently? Do you need to?
If you’re able, I hope you visit it and feel restored, too.
Stay safe and healthy everyone. Until Next time.
All photos in this blog post were taken by Jennifer Monroe 2020.