John & Anne Wiley



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…”


1 Comment

  1. When my first husband and I first came to Baja, we saw the airfield just past Ensenada. It looked to be an official federal field but very small. We were surprised that they let us come in. WIth my limited Spanish, I found that we could land a plane there for $2 US and keep a plane there for fifty cents a day. No night landings as there were no lights. And I guess one just wiggled the wings to indicate approach.

    Of course we did not have a plane, nor either of us knew how to fly. But Oh, how I wanted to. I had always wanted to soar in the skies.

    That husband, the father of my children, and the one who should have been my support, had never been behind any of my dreams. And so this was not something I was allowed to do. And I so envy you the freedom of the skies.

    I am sure I could have been a pilot and enjoyed the skies. I never had a car accident , except for a few who who hit me, but fortunately minor.

    Here in Baja, it is a joy to me to hear a plane or a helicopter pass by. It happens only maybe once a month. I run out to see it.

    My home in Goleta (NOW called Noleta by the media) is right across from the More Mesa and quite in the flight path of incoming jets. They are supposed to follow a path along San Vicente, but usually cut corners and slice over between Kaiser and Rhoads. There have been many times we thought they might take out our telephone poles.

    I have never minded the helicopters that went to the hospital, as they were performing a good job and getting someone to help. I quite dislike the ruckus that the neighbors of the SB Cottage are raising about the helicopters. My windows never have rattled from the jets or the helicopters. I admit, that if I was on the phone, I would tell the party to wait a few seconds as a plane was passing over. Not a big deal.

    And I loved the guppies when they were being tested. I think that was before you were here. There was a baby, a mama and a papa guppy.. It was quite a show. I equated it to watching fat ballerinas doing their routines. It was really quite fun to watch, and it was free.

    Well, enough from me, Marie Mancilla—– here in Baja

    Comment by Marie Mancilla — 2012/06/22 @ 08:09

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