Yesterday morning, I woke up at 8 am. I showered, brushed my teeth, and put on a carefully selected all-white ensemble. I prepared for my day – a camera, my feet, and rose colored glasses. Today, I promised myself, I would get out of the rut. And I did.
For the past few weeks, I’ve felt a quiet yet unmistakable decline in my creative drive. I’ve had so many thoughts and notions – only the beginnings of ideas – but as of late, the desire to express them has outweighed the actual ability to bring them to fruition. The last time I felt truly inspired and felt confident in my ability to express it was on my vacation to LA nearly a month ago; far too long to feel this way, in my opinion.
I’ve felt this before, and certainly, I’ll face similar slumps in the future. And over time, I have noticed that for as many moments in which another’s company has brought me out of the inspiration-less shadows, time alone has done the same. I enjoy my solitude, and even on some of the darkest days, an outing on my own can bring me sunshine.
I got in my car and headed for a place that always brings me joy and optimism: the Sunset District in San Francisco. For hours, I wandered alone, absorbing the unique colors and energies, internalizing the peace it gave me. Blocks upon blocks of classic San Francisco townhouses give way to stretches of sidewalk adjacent to the beach. Faded, peachy tones paired with the rich blues of the sky and the water gave rise to a new color palette for my imagination to feast on. Strangers were friendly, as expected, and I took several moments to ponder each of their backstories. Carefully curated shops appealed to practically every sense and I took actual time to appreciate the quality of the materials and design.
Solitary walks bring fresh air as well as fresh ideas. Your body moves forward and pulls your imagination with it, onward into its next phase of creativity. An underrated and underappreciated method of spending time, I often find myself neglecting them in favor of other endeavors. But time alone is important, and for me a walk alone even more so.
This time alone is crucial to me. Giving my brain a rest and letting it wander along with my feet, taking things in as it chooses and not forcing it any which way, gives it freedom once again. Silence and solitude force my mind to explore experiences it may not notice if otherwise occupied by music, friends, or a busy schedule. It gives me the ability to catch nuances and shift perspectives on otherwise meaningless scenes, like some sparse flowers in a baron flower trough or the way in which the view of the ocean caught as you cross Judah Street complements the tones of the buildings.
These private observations give me new life, new light under which my imagination can flower once again.
Words and Photography by Megan Munroe.
© 2017 Reef Magazine