John & Anne Wiley

2012/02/17

Rock Concert

It’s partly about shapes, my fascination with rocks. In childhood I remember days lying on my back seeing shapes in clouds, and nights seeing shapes in the textured plaster ceiling. Now I seem to see shapes in rocks, like the “gorilla” in this one.

0202 Gorilla Rock

0202 Gorilla Rock

Tho obvious to me I doubt if you see it, because Anne doesn’t. If you’d like to, try checking the version on my Photo Page (link in right column here). Anyway, this whole area where Hwy. 166 bends East into the Cuyama Valley is a concert for rock lovers.

0216 Cuyama Bend

0216 Cuyama Bend

If you click to see the largest version here, you can almost make out “Gorilla Rock” aka Twin Rocks in the middle slightly less than 1/3 down from the top. If you drive the highway, it might be possible to get a glimpse of the formation from the road where you might notice that it’s actually four or five rock columns as you can see in this pic.

0198 Twins?!

0198 Twins?!

I don’t know how the name Twin Rocks was chosen, but maybe from the highway it looks like two columns? You may also notice several other interesting formations in this area, though this one doesn’t really show up in the “Cuyama Bend” wide shot above.

0206 More Rocks

0206 More Rocks

So why are rocks so fascinating for me? Maybe it’s the brain’s pattern recognition engine running wild. Perhaps some inner sculptor enjoying interpreting impressionist shapes in the dimensionality and texture of rocks. Or is it just another manifestation of the pure joy I find in flying, with the 3D touring of rocky outcrops enhancing our intimate dance with terrain?

2012/02/15

Takeoff & Landing

Most takeoffs in a small plane from SBA begin with this view of UCSB.

0018 UCSB Takeoff

0018 UCSB Takeoff

This end of campus has new buildings that add architectural interest in front of the iconic Storke Tower at upper-left. Of course, this is only a tiny slice of the actual view we get, and it’s degraded by the fact my camera doesn’t do well shooting toward the light. So here’s a look back a moment later, that shows a larger tiny slice that includes Goleta Beach.

0020 Beneath Our Wings

0020 Beneath Our Wings

So if you could imagine a panorama taken with a perfect camera of probably ten pix like this, plus 20 more to show more of our vertical angles … well, then you’d have some idea how magnificent it is to fly here. Of course you need to add the motion of waves and the slowly changing perspective as we wander through this 3D miracle. sigh… Wish I could share it more fully somehow. 🙂

A little further along the beach and rotating our view 45 degrees or so to the right, we see More Mesa nestled between glimmering beach and serene mountains.

0021 More Mesa

0021 More Mesa

As for “landings” I like this Hope Ranch waterfront bluff manse that looks like a flying saucer has landed.

0033 Saucer Land

0033 Saucer Land

I also enjoy the trail down to a landing at the beach hut, and this is one of the rare estates that actually has a path clear down to the beach. Mixed blessing I’d guess, since some disrespectful beachcombers probably venture up the steps occasionally. Such a lovely property! Later when we were landing, we had completely different and equally fascinating views of the airport area. In between our senses were bathed in a constant unfolding of enJoy-ment as we wandered over paradise. I enjoyed another deeply nourishing sigh just now, recalling a few more moments of this short flight.

Hope your Valentine’s Day has overflowed with Love and Joy as ours is. After our growthful and playful years together, each day brings joy, romance, and ever-increasing Love that expands into all we can perceive.

2012/02/14

Sacred Friendship

I believe that deep friendship has a sacred quality, in the sense that our very identity and sense of meaning in life is closely interwoven with interpersonal intimacy. Family carries bonds of closeness over our entire lifetime together, yet at least until maturity lacks the element of conscious choice.

Friendships that arise from consciously choosing each other and the process of exploring our deepest true selves together, this seems to me a powerful co-transformation accessible to those willing and able. This week we flew with adventurous and fascinating new friends, and the very next day went on an extended soul journey in playful and wide ranging conversation with an old friend. I cherish all that friendship awakens in me, and how it expands my enjoyment and appreciation of family.

All this comes to mind as I look at this pic of the Carrizo Plain’s iconic Painted Rock from our flight. A place where over millennia, friends and families have probably gathered.

0245 Place to Ponder

0245 Place to Ponder

2012/02/12

Rides

A few years ago, few things were more fun than body surfing. The feel of the water around me. The rush when a set came in and a big one stood up to invite some fun. Unconsciously using past breaks on this day’s waves to calculate where this monster would break. Swimming hard to be at the right place. Just barely catching it, and then falling into the groove to ride until my mind started turning to the next wave and deciding whether to bail and try for it. Such pure physical, emotional and spiritual joy. Why would anyone ever do anything else?

0188 Smooth

0188 Smooth

It’s all Smooth somehow. Perfection. Now maybe if I’d ever gotten good on a board I’d still be out there, but as you know by now I’d rather be flying. Having been there makes watching a ride like this from our magic carpet all the more enchanting. There is a powerful Smooth for me on a good flight. Heck, on most flights. It might be something we see, or the song of Tripp’s engine, or a turn. Even landings sometimes are akin to catching that wave and feeling again the Smooth of a great ride.

2012/02/11

Hidden Gardens

This area abounds with beautiful hidden gardens. Some are in yards protected by high walls and/or hedges, so few people ever see them.

0070 Symmetry

0070 Symmetry

Many of the walled gardens have some sort of symmetry. A mandala, a labyrinth, or often boxes and rows like this one in Montecito. Nearby are many breathtaking natural gardens, like Tangerine Falls.

0077 Tangerine Falls

0077 Tangerine Falls

With so little rain this Winter, it’s nearly dry. Even so, by all reports it’s Eden on the trail in and at the base. Of course, that hike is also reputed to be less than an idyllic stroll in the woods. But on this flight we noticed this garden perhaps even more enchanting, and a quiet pool still filled with sparkling water.

0080 Zen

0080 Zen

This garden of Zen so close to town is very easy to reach. With a helicopter to lower you down a long cable. Seriously, I wonder how many people have ever been here. Maybe we’ll fly closer next time to look for trails and a better angle for pix. Meanwhile I’m musing on the secret gardens within. How high are my walls, and how daunting the paths into the psyche? With continued effort, will I more often open the gates to share the places most precious? For me, sharing our Garden is the essence of life. That is why sharing the joy of flight so expands the moments aloft.

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