John & Anne Wiley

2012/06/27

Beached Whale

Often it’s an inexplicable impulse that moves me to snap an aerial. Something about this scene, for example, just nudged me to pick up the camera and tap the shutter.

0246 Beached Whale?

0246 Beached Whale?

Back at home looking at pix from the flight, the black thing in the middle looked at first like a beached baby whale. The guy walking toward it, maybe even the green thing some sort of attempted rescue floatation device? Then a deep breath and more careful examination reveals it’s a giant oil blob. An ancient seep from the riven sandstone strata just above the beach. But the fun I had discovering this feature on the popular More Mesa beach reinforces my tendency to go with the impulse to snap when it arises. Same with this one taken a moment earlier.

0245 Rock & Garden

0245 Rock & Garden

The shapes of rock and garden mingle to produce art. I like how the several yards also blend from above, into a complete picture that explodes beyond the square fence. Plus of course the turret on the right, because there’s something so romantic about turrets for me. This last one for today recalls the 1960s California surfing scene, but with an accent of Cannes, with the tidy identical beach umbrellas.

0250 Surfin' USA

0250 Surfin’ USA

It also recalls for me the 70th birthday party we had there on the Hope Ranch private beach for our dearly departed Doris. Seems only yesterday, yet it’s been fourteen years or so. She seemed so much older and wiser, yet soon enough we’ll reach that age. I guess as we age, ever more of our consciousness includes memory. Do the scenes that stand out to us, define our true selves? Am I in some way a beached whale? Are we the past we remember, the future we imagine, or our present consciousness and actions?

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2012/06/25

Afterglow

The time just after the Solstice Parade is another highlight of this enchanted Santa Barbarian event. As the parade turns off of “Altered” State street toward Alameda Park, a large and lively crowd is following at the parade’s sedate pace. This pace, the long wait for the parade to pass, and all the excitement blends into something really unique in the park.

0731 Into the Park

0731 Into the Park

Here we add all the attractions I mentioned yesterday, plus everything the grand park itself has to offer, and the magic of mingling creative people with those who appreciate creativity. Even with so many people, it has a relaxed and easy air that whispers Summer.

0732 Easy Summer

0732 Easy Summer

The parade participants relax after their miles long trek up the street, and relish the soft cool grass among their toes.

0741 Relax & Rehydrate

0741 Relax & Rehydrate

They also reconnect with family and support staff who helped make their contribution to the delight of our town possible.

0738 Family Reunion

0738 Family Reunion

They begin a gradual return to normalcy after wearing the personae of performers, and plug into their cellphones

0737 Normalcy

0737 Normalcy

Their friends and family do the same, some using costume pieces for shade in the warm sunshine of Summer Solstice SB.

0740 Fancy Umbrella

0740 Fancy Umbrella

Drummers who were in the parade continue their rhythmic trance in impromptu drum circles inviting free spirits to add their free form dance.

0745 Drum Circle

0745 Drum Circle

I wonder what this is like for the silent trees that have stood for decades spreading their welcome cooling shade and offering shelter from forgotten storms. On the streets around the park, paraders have parked their floats to the delight of kids who pet their favs and adults who study the designs.

0755 Parked Magic

0755 Parked Magic

Nearby are inflatable kids rides in the park that boasts a playground named Kid’s World. Everywhere paraders mingle with admirers, and almost no one could be blue.

0753 Mingling

0753 Mingling

Paraders pose for photographers, appreciating the attention they’ve worked so hard to attract.

0758 Content & Tired

0758 Content & Tired

Even after their exhausting uphill walk with pauses to stand and wait on the hot parade pavement, some are still showing performer enthusiasm in their posing.

0760 Happy Energy

0760 Happy Energy

Leaving the park, even with all the food booths it had, some stood in line for burgers on the quieter edge of the adjoining Keck Gardens park with its duck and turtle pond.

0763 Bus Line

0763 Bus Line

Sure enough, inside Keck on that refreshing lawn, a fairy had crashed to rest up for the ongoing celebration that would last well into the wee hours, her purple wings wilted down against her back.

0592 Fairy Landing

0592 Fairy Landing

Walking several blocks back to our car, the streets seemed like any day. Then a car or pedestrian would pass that prolonged the experience of where we’d just been.

0770 Solstice Lives

0770 Solstice Lives

In front of a large house, the dog statue adorned for events by the owners is wearing Solstice regalia.

0772 Lawn Decor

0772 Lawn Decor

As all know who follow my Edhat contributions, we went for a short flight after all this. Not enough fun for one day. 🙂

0814 Aftermath

0814 Aftermath

Even hours after the parade arrived, the concerts and all the other attractions were still entertaining a large and joyful crowd. Life is so sweet!

2012/06/24

The One

There are plenty of fun things to see and do around SB, but for us the Solstice Parade is “The One.” Numeo Uno. Primo.

0600 Parade Approach

0600 Parade Approach

It’s just colorful and random displays of fanciful and playful imagination, and always seems to enchant us.

0605 Fantasy

0605 Fantasy

There’s a “theme” every year, and this time it was “Fantasy.” Even when you know the theme, it’s often impossible to guess how a particular entrant in the parade is trying to express that thought. Maybe because some aren’t – just having crazy fun. 🙂

0623 Crowd Pleasers

0623 Crowd Pleasers

Most of the participants interact with the crowd, and since many along the route dress up fancifully too, watching the crowd adds to the fun. For example, Ms Piggy there had boobs and buns that moved to cheers from the crowd.

0638 Upper Deck

0638 Upper Deck

Click any of these pix for larger versions. The one above for example, has many interesting details. Notice the upper deck observers watching the parade and the crowd.

0640 Small & Tall

0640 Small & Tall

Lots of families, and kids getting shoulder rides to save energy or for a great view. Few things seem more thrilling to a small child than riding atop a tall parent. Bring back memories?

0645 Parade Family

0645 Parade Family

Some families are right out in the parade, and this Dad seems especially happy about it. Since we were near the end point of the long parade, the kids had stopped waving by this point but his enthusiasm made up for it.

0646 Handy Man

0646 Handy Man

I guess the guy in the spangled red suit with giant hands is supposed to be Elvis, and he just randomly hugged the guy in the wheelchair. I wondered if this next float was a tribute to the kids story about “Wild Things.”

0649 Wild Things

0649 Wild Things

There were several groups of brilliantly costumed dancers like these, and most of the groups were quite large. This group had perhaps fifty dancers.

0655 Dancers

0655 Dancers

A few people brought pets, and this one seemed less than enthusiastic about the whole thing. Had the wings worked, this dog would have surely flown away home.

0673 Fairy Dog

0673 Fairy Dog

Sometimes the parade would take inexplicably long pauses, and younger people both in and watching the parade might wilt a little in the warm sun.

0686 Delayed Dancers

0686 Delayed Dancers

Can you tell I just don’t get tired of looking at the parade and the pix we take of it? So much fun, color and random humanity.

0688 True Colors

0688 True Colors

All along the route are kids and families selling eggs that have been drained and colorful confetti put in. Kids of all ages love to smash them over people’s heads, and someone tagged the girl in the middle of this next pic.

0689 Egg Head

0689 Egg Head

Of course, Summer Solstice is all about the sun. This next float was among my favs, and you can see a sol face peeking out from behind the blue multi-armed entity whose back is turned toward us.

0690 Slice of Sun

0690 Slice of Sun

There were of course multitudes of photographers mingling with the crowd, some quite beautiful.

0694 Kodak Moment

0694 Kodak Moment

There’s a colorful inflated float that usually marks the end of the parade, though this year it was followed by yet another drum float.

0695 Semi-Final Float

0695 Semi-Final Float

Inside the float’s plastic windows you can see gymnasts performing, with at least one of them on a trapeze seeming to float inside the float.

0709 Floating Inside

0709 Floating Inside

Once the last float has passed, many in the crowd follow the parade to the grand old Alameda Park for music, arts, crafts, and lots of fun.

0719 Following

0719 Following

Now if you haven’t enjoyed looking at and clicking on some of these pix and the whole notion of such a people’s parade is boring, watch out because my next post will probably include a few from the park. May the sun always shine in your heart.

Happy Solstice! 🙂

2012/06/23

Fun Weekend

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 04:01

Summer Solstice is our fav event in SB. I don’t know if it’s the same every year, but we heard this is also the weekend for the Lomoc Flower Festival. So we flew over for a look. Approaching town over the beautiful Santa Rosa Road we saw several fairly small plots of flowers along the river.

0501 Lompoc Flowers

0501 Lompoc Flowers

Very tame compared with bygone years, but still a lovely complement to the river flowing toward the sea. The festival itself, we discovered a few years ago, is really just kids carnival rides and a giant mercado.

0521 Flower Festival

0521 Flower Festival

No flowers to speak of, though we’d imagined many flower merchants and lots of contests for best posies. Nope. But not far away to the west of town is the loveliest field still blooming in this season.

0523 Lompoc Flowers

0523 Lompoc Flowers

After landing to explore the shopping malls near the airport, we flew home and saw the kickoff concerts for SB Solstice at Alameda Park.

0580 SB Solstice Concert

0580 SB Solstice Concert

Tomorrow our fun weekend expands into the fanciful Summer Solstice Parade, and we’re excited to take it all in! 🙂

2012/06/22

Sigh

Before we flew in small planes more than once every ten years or so, we used to get a Big Sur effect. That’s where we’re driving South along that enchanted road, and one of us suddenly takes an involuntary deep breath. We’d take that drive every few years just for the deep joy of it. The Sighs. Well now it happens pretty much every time we fly. It’s much more frequent than on those drives though. Scenes like this, that would greet airline passengers if they weren’t going so fast and had a panoramic view like ours.

0437 SBA View

0437 SBA View

The new terminal building is lovely, but in this fuller context it really glows. I’ve learned to snap scenes like this without looking, using one hand. I like how they refresh the memory of the moment before that triggered my snap. A camera impulse that goes from eye to shutter finger with minimal thought. Often accompanied by a sigh, both when I snap and when I look at the result back on the ground later. Here’s another:

0438 Pier to Point

0438 Pier to Point

We fly past the Goleta Pier on nearly every flight from SBA, and it seldom passes without a sigh and the snap impulse. I usually suppress the snap because I have so many. Out the other side, Anne is dreamily watching UCSB and the view West. Often a wordless smile passes between us. There’s a sound that sums it up for us better than words: “Sigh…”

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