"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Music on the mountains

By on July 23, 2018 in Outdoor Fun with 0 Comments

Anastasia Allison brings music outdoors: She especially enjoys playing hymns in nature.













By Jaana Hatton

I discovered something exciting on May 17 as I was hiking on Sauer’s Mountain in Peshastin. It wasn’t a rare flower or a rare bird – it was a rare person.

I was descending the hillside, within eyesight of the parking area, when I noticed a young lady a little farther down. Actually, I noticed her backpack; it was unusually tall and boxy. If you have been to Sauer’s Mountain, you know that a hiker will think twice about how much gear they haul up the steep trail.

I caught up with her down at the trailhead and couldn’t help but ask about the equipment on her back. Plant collecting?

“Oh, it’s my violin,” the young lady with a thick, dark braid escaping from underneath her baseball cap replied with a smile.

Say what? I gaped at her.

“I hike the mountains and play up there. I love it,” she continued.

Violinist Anastasia and her friend, Rose Freeman make mountain music.

She introduced herself as Anastasia Allison of Everett. While accompanying her husband on a business trip, Anastasia had taken a friend’s recommendation to hike Sauer’s Mountain that day. It was not her original plan, but a little voice in her head insisted she take the advice. She did, and we met.

We later connected on Facebook and to my surprise I learned that we had been on a similar path before, taking the Criminal Justice course at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon. Anastasia graduated in 2005 and became a park ranger. I was taking the course in 2014, in addition to my AA, but stopped after a year when I realized journalism was my true calling.

Being a park ranger was a life-long dream to Anastasia. She had been volunteering with the National Parks since she was 11.

Once she graduated, she ended up working on the Hood River at a national park for seven years. She put a special touch into the job: playing the violin around the campsites to soothe rowdy campers. It worked.

The next five years Anastasia worked as a police officer and finally felt she had had enough of law enforcement — there was a lot of ugly in that work. It gets to a person over the years.

Anastasia has played the violin most of her 37 years. It was another thing she always wanted to do. She especially enjoys playing hymns outdoors.

“You look back on the things that you’ve done in your life and you realize why you’ve done them,” Anastasia said in one of her Facebook postings. There is a calling, a purpose, woven into her life’s shape with music and nature that is bringing her to a bigger mission: that of helping others find their path.

It could be all over for her. It was a close call on Steven’s Pass in January 2017. The pick-up truck she was driving, with her mother and husband as passengers, suddenly began to fish-tail and drift towards the side of the road — which would have been a long drop down.

Somehow Anastasia kept her calm and steered the vehicle to the center of the road — only to face a semi-truck coming straight at them. Both trucks stopped at the last minute and nobody was hurt. Not physically, that is.

Anastasia carried the mental anguish from the accident in her mind every day. She felt guilty, as if she had caused the incident. Finally she went to see a therapist to help her make sense of her feelings. Only then she understood that what she had done were all the RIGHT things: staying calm, controlling the vehicle and saving lives.

“I am the oldest of three girls. There has been the pressure of being an example and especially, pleasing my Dad. He is not easily impressed,” Anastasia said.

She has carried the feeling of “not-quite-good-enough” inside of her. Anastasia started to evaluate her life when she nearly died in the car incident.

Now, she is not trying to please others as much as she is trying to help them.

A year has gone by, and Anastasia is still steering things in the right direction. She plays her violin together with her friend Rose Freeman, who plays the keyboard. Together they are known as the Musical Mountaineers, performing on high hills, rushing rivers and beautiful beaches.

They bring calm to people who hear it and to themselves, likewise.

If you look through her Facebook page, you will find many comments of thanks and appreciation from those who were touched by the music at a time in their lives when they needed comfort.

A year ago, while meeting with her therapist, Anastasia wrote herself a mission statement. On the bottom it says: ME NOW. At the top stands: ME – Inspiring Millions of People.

Anastasia is doing something special and it has been noticed: KING 5 TV featured her, as did the Backpacker magazine.

It keeps snowballing, one thing leading to another. Anastasia offers a seven-day STUCK-to-SUMMIT inspirational course. She is an inspirational speaker and always, a musician. How is that for “good enough?”

“As much as I love playing the violin, I never felt I was at the level to play in concert halls,” Anastasia said.

Guess what? On Oct. 24, she and Rose will be performing at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle to join in the Washington National Park Fund event. They are a trio now: painter Nikki Frumkin will be with them.

“I used to think that life was happening TO me. Now I see how it’s happening FOR me,” Anastasia said.

So here we are, Anastasia doing what she feels called to do with her music and I, with writing. We both wish to share and inspire, not always knowing how. What we do know by now is to follow our intuitions.

We all have such a knowing, the true voice somewhere in our minds whispering to us. It often takes a big shake-up for that message to fly free. But, if we stop to listen, it may come to us as softly as a song.

You can follow Anastasia on www.anastasiaallison.com, or www.facebook.com/anastasia.m.allison.

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