After the booking of the hotel usually comes the friend contacting. I love to keep up my relationships. It brings me so much joy to reach into my past and have these connections. I learn so much from these people. Dear people who have been part of my life forever. People who know almost too much about me. But because they know all they do they have coveted perspective. I love the comfortable feeling that comes when you are sitting, or standing, or walking with these sorts of people. We all have these people like this in our lives. I love them. They make me smile so much. I need them. I am not sure if they need me. But I need them and I am so grateful for them. Time seems to stand still when I am with them. And I love thinking about how long I have known them. It is also fun to realize how we have changed and how we have stayed the same. There is a wide range of these friends. Some are my parents friends who knew me and had the inexplicable joy of observing me when I was a teenager :) Some are friends from high school. Some are favorite teachers.
Each trip to Washington is a little different depending on which friends are available. Sometimes I need alone time on these trips and I plan a hike or a ferry ride and only see one friend. Sometimes I need as many friends as I can cram into my time, it just depends. There truly is an art to figuring out what one needs :)
My next visit was unusual and spontaneous but I am a silly person and sometimes do silly things. I have been so curious and interested in Solon's store he bought in Seattle that I had to go. Solon is another friend from high school. I was a little bit proud of myself for getting to his shop and finding a parking place on Ballard Street in Seattle. The shop is in an area with lots of interesting and unique shops all around. And I was so happy to see lots of people in his store shopping for outdoor gear. I wish I skied but I don't. I wish I hard core hiked...but I don't. I bike, but not enough to buy serious bike accessories. I do not think any of the people who buy bike accessories at Solon's store have a woven basket on the front of their bike like I do :) No rock climbing for this girl either. But thankfully his store, Second Ascent, had hats. A lot of hats. And I happen to love knit hats and also happened to need some. So it was a win. It was fun to visit with Solon and hear how one decides to buy a store and what it involves. I did not bug him long but it was a fun adventure.
After all my Monday visiting I decided to go to the movie so I went and saw Into The Woods...again. I am saying that sheepishly...in case you did not notice. It is rare that I spend money on a movie twice but I adore this movie and needed to see it again. I sat there and thought about all the times I had seen a movie in the old movie theaters at the Everett Mall with friends, old boyfriends, and family. I do love to torture myself with walks down memory lane.
After the movie I bugged my friend Erin. Erin always has time for me and is so generous and patient with me. She knows what I deserve and is good at reminding me and boosting my courage to do what I know I need to do. Erin and I were in choir together in high school and probably a few other classes too. She was ready to feed me some dinner at her house and very understanding when I just could not visit and had to go. This has been a hard few months for me as much as I like to pretend it has not been hard, it has been, and sometimes I just hit the wall at weird random moments and need to flee and regroup.
So I headed to my hotel room and used that complimentary wifi to watch all of the second season of Master Chef Jr. I ate jelly bellies one by one and just tried to be one with my life. I am not so good at that.
I managed to hit two incredibly beautiful days in the Snohomish Valley. Sunrise was beautiful both mornings. I always forget how beautiful it is there. Mountains perfectly placed everywhere you look.
I drove into Snohomish to meet MaryAnn for breakfast at Jake's. MaryAnn is best friends with my mother. She threw my bridal shower for me when I got married a gazillion years ago. I love that she has known me and my family forever. I love that she has been through some of the things I have been through and knows how it feels. I just sit and soak up all the perspective and views she has and it strengthens me beyond belief. I did not realize how much I needed this until I was sitting there with an enormous pancake on my plate and a side of sausage paying close attention to everything she said having realization after realization. I left breakfast with firm resolve and determination to pull myself together :) And felt like there was hope for my future which is so unsure.
After breakfast I drove to Monroe. My next visit was Lorre/Loretta :) Lorre in high school....Loretta now. Add Lorre to the list of people who have seen me through all sorts of embarrassing things. She and I met at Lake Tye in Monroe at 11:30 and we walked, and walked, and talked, and talked. Do you see a pattern to my friendships? We both have seven kids and always have lots to catch up on. We ruefully discuss all the things we wish we had known before we acted. We lament about having no control over the choices of people around us. The day was so beautiful, cool, and clear. It was nice to connect and reminisce and attempt to figure things out. We reminded each other that life was about unconditionally loving and that in the end that was all we could really do.
I know it sounds cheesy and corny but these connections make my little heart swell and swell. People that I feel safe with. People I can be who I am with. People who do not care that I make the same mistakes over and over. People who see my flaws but are always there for me. I really needed to feel unconditionally loved on this trip and I am so grateful for these solid amazing people who know how to give me views of my life. Who do not judge me. I feel a little selfish because I always am mooching off these people's strengths.
After my walk I knew it was time to face life again. I wanted to stay and just keep visiting friends over and over. Gathering advice....getting views....commiserating about things....realizing. This is life. And I am so glad I have friends to reach out to who know how to reach back and add such richness to my life.
There were many more friends that I called and chatted with on my long road trip up and back....shhh do not tell the police in Washington :) Friends in Utah and Illinois and sisters in Michigan and Georgia. There were many more friends that I could just not meet with this time that also have spots in my life and I love that they are there. Somehow it always works out that I see who I need to see and hear what I need to hear at the right time.
I listened to the Into The Woods soundtrack most of the way home. The lyrics from many of these songs are so insightful and have so much to do with life. I have to share one of them with you because it fit so perfectly with my trip and life.
Though it's fearful
though its deep, though its dark
And though you may lose the path
Though you may encounter wolves,
You can't just act,
You have to listen,
You can't just act
You have to think...
There are always wolves,
There are always spells
There are always beans,
Or a giant dwells
Into The Woods you go again
You have to every now and then
Into the woods, no telling when,
Be ready for the journey
Into the woods but not too fast
or what you wish you lose at last
into the woods but mind the past
into the woods but mind the future
into the woods but not to stay
or tempt the wolf
or steal from the giant
the way is dark
the light is dim
but now there's you
me, her, and him
The chances look small
The chances look grim
And everything you learn there
Will help you return there
The light is getting dimmer
I think I see a glimmer
Into the woods-you have to grope
But that's the way you learn to cope
Into the woods to find there's hope
Of getting through the journey
Into the woods each time you go
There's more to learn of what you know
Into the woods but not to slow
Into the woods it's nearing midnight
Into the woods to mind the Wolf
To heed the witch
To honor the giant
To go to the festival
Into the woods
Into the woods
Into the woods
Then out of the woods
And happy ever after.
Yes, I listened to it over and over. It was the perfect way to wrap up my trip. I felt so empty and sad and unsure of where my life was going when I left Oregon and came home with confidence that I can do hard things and that I am not alone in the woods.