John & Anne Wiley

2011/07/31

Old Town

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,Random,SB Region — John @ 00:26

Our brief flight yesterday brought nostalgic touches of Old Santa Barbara. Near our place I spotted these two horses standing motionless on a grassy knoll all but oblivious to the newfangled machine passing a quarter mile above their sleepy heads.

2405 Urban Horses

2405 Urban Horses

They reminded me of the horses our family had when I was little, and of the massive Fiesta Parade coming up here Friday the 5th. The largest equestrian parade in the West as I recall. We’ve gone a few times, and it’s such a delight to see the exceptional horses and riders. Feels like we’re back in the last millennium before cars, watching the seemingly endless stream of people moving up the street with the help of single-digit horsepower.

An item in Edhat about sidewalk stamps included an old one with my name, and citizens may vote it Photo of the Day. This is the first place I’ve lived that had someone else with my name, and there are three of us! All of this gives our town an older impression than we get cruising Altered State Street.

We also saw the old mission framed by the Riviera hills with a cloud garnish, and that’s where many of the week-long series of Fiesta events other than the parade are held.

2409 Mission & Hills

2409 Mission & Hills

The air was hazy because the coastal low clouds that keep our town comfy in the SoCA summer had just dissipated, and that gives the photo an older look that would probably add “age” in sepia. I still like it in color tho. 🙂

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2011/07/30

Quiet Campus

We were delighted to get a few minutes of flying today, and for some reason the waterfront SBCC main campus looked especially peaceful and beautiful.

2460 Peaceful SBCC

2460 Peaceful SBCC

This college is one of our first positive impressions of Santa Barbara, before moving here. We drove along Cabrillo (bottom-right) and were amazed at the idyllic setting, imagining students walking across the street and broad sandy West Beach to go surfing after class. Anne even worked for a time in one of the offices just above the grassy area lower-left. We once watched July 4 fireworks from the East end of the campus overlooking the harbor (just left of the Los Banos Pool you can see just left of the harbor, top-right).

Not only does our community college have a spectacular setting, it boasts a remarkable world-class faculty. We know several professors who left UCSB jobs to teach there, and the quality of instruction is generally top-notch. The fact that the college also has one of the premier Continuing Education programs in the world seems to be cause and effect. Adult Ed provides the exceptional faculty, and the grateful community is exceptionally supportive. I love this town! 🙂

2011/07/25

Notice

Discovery has magic for me. Certain discoveries add an element of magic and surprise, brought simply by noticing.

A familiar view for us is the nearby mountains that endlessly entertain us with changing light and often a fluffy dash of mist or cloud. Sometimes a dome of elegantly painted sky at sunset. Often a circling hawk or a cackle of crows. On a nearer hillock is a snag that draws the eye, and frequently harbors hawk or crows, woodpeckers or smaller birds. Imagine the surprise then to discover a medium-large tree standing alone on a ridge not a mile from our daily vantage point.

2398 Fog Featured Tree

2398 Fog Featured Tree

That’s it to the left of the snag, brought into stark relief by the fog just beyond. That same scene an hour later looked as it usually does, and that same tree is all but invisible.

2400 Vanished Fog & Tree

2400 Vanished Fog & Tree

With the fog gone, the hill beyond camouflages the tree and even seems to shift the shape of the ridge it stands on. This disappearance got me thinking about what and how we notice. Our minds are wired to ignore most of the information flooding into our senses. We’ve evolved to pick out what’s relevant or different. Anything that stands out in some way. If we could build a robot with eyesight no keener and brain no simpler than ours, would it notice the tree in the second photo? Would a mindfulness guru notice it? How many things in our lives go unnoticed? How many of those are relevant or different, but we pass them by either because we lack the presence to notice or because they don’t stand out? Why do I sometimes want to notice and remember more? How does noticing such things somehow stimulate serene happiness? Would that tree stand out in the second pic if my father had planted and cared for it? How relevant will the most important thing in my life be, in the context of ten thousand years?

Anyway, here’s a larger slice of the same scene more as we normally see it, inviting us to notice the tree even less.

2400 Tree Diminished

2400 Tree Diminished

Still, having now seen it our eye is drawn to search for it daily, a familiar face in the sensory crowd.

2011/07/22

On Another Note

Summers are a great time for free concerts in SB. There’s the Thursday evening series at Chase Palm Park, across from East Beach where the free Saturday drum circle meets. Here’s what the concert stage looked like from offshore in the glow of a Winter sunset.

5044 Chase Stage

5044 Chase Stage

The railroad tracks are quite close as you can see, but that doesn’t seem to interfere with the concerts. The grassy seating area is large enough for large crowds to spread out with picnics.

6165 Chase Palm Park

6165 Chase Palm Park

This recent view from the North side shows the stage at bottom-left, the surrounding grass, and right of the grass the great playground that has rubber sidewalks and landing areas under the climbing kids. Next to the right, on the left side of the path as you walk away from the concert area is a sweet little pond with nature attractions for kids. Further along you can see the red roof of the restored antique carousel and a small meeting area. Oh, the drum circle spot is across the street where the grass tapers down to the left of the soccer fields and you can lie on your back watching the sunset colors play on the palms with surf sounds between drum sets. Some of the dancers are quite impressive to watch too, from professional belly and jazz dancers to free spirits of all ages.

Another source of free musical entertainment is the annual summer classical concert series of the Music Academy. I think most are held in the auditorium on their quiet leafy campus, shown here in a recent photo.

2323 SB Music Academy Campus

2323 SB Music Academy Campus

There’s something about Summer and music that’s innately compatible, and I’m glad SB has such a pleasant combination available.

2011/07/21

Flying Waters

We flew local waters with delightful Di yesterday (Tuesday), and I like several of the pix. This is probably my first attempt at the offshore swimmers we’ve seen from shore.

2343 Ocean Swimmers

2343 Ocean Swimmers

I just love this one of a paddleboard on the shimmering water near Shoreline Park where we had our wedding reception a few days ago (8/7/01).

2346 Paddleboarding on Colors

2346 Paddleboarding on Colors

In the larger version on my Photo Page, the kelp is even more interesting. Last up tonight is the water taxi that runs between the harbor and wharf, named Lil Toot. Very fun to ride, and fun to watch from the air as it toots between the kayaks you see and those out of frame at the top.

2359 Lil Toot

2359 Lil Toot

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