John & Anne Wiley

2013/12/31

Happiness Is

We took Molly to the fascinating SB Historical Museum during her visit here Saturday, and I sat a moment with a quiet 90-something man named Carl. At one point I asked what he’s learned in his years and he replied, “I choose Happiness.”

0535 Happiness Is

0535 Happiness Is

He said that by consciously choosing happiness, his life has been greatly enriched. Especially in aging as his contemporaries increasingly chose to focus on decreasing capacity and grumble about encroaching aches and pains.

As we glided down into SBA from one of our flights north this week for fun with family and friends, I thought about happiness noticing the people gathering to watch the sunset atop the peak. Here at the popular Lizard’s Mouth we’d discovered recently (see below), there’s a certain celebration of passages. The end of each day, the start of the next, engagements, solstices and equinoxes, birthdays and memorials, probably even some weddings are celebrated here. Coming here is one of the countless ways some people choose, create and celebrate their Happiness.

May we help each other remember
to choose Happiness,
and may we celebrate together
the joys we have shared,
and anticipate with delight
the coming surprises we welcome.

Happy 2014!

🙂 🙂

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2013/12/23

Sisses, Bros, & Phone Religions

Sisters
We’re lucky. Anne and I are among those who enjoy warm relationships with our sisters. This is especially nice during the holiday season, when so many of our friends dread difficult times with family. Plus we get to enjoy brief forays into the enchanted realm of Flight, going to visit.

0039 Over LA

0039 Over LA

After so many tormented drives on LA “free” ways to/from San Diego sisters, it’s such a contrast to be truly Free as we happily look down on all that smog and congestion. Occasionally we fly along the mountains, but usually we enjoy the coastal route where people have built dream mansions on the outskirts of the LA nightmare.

0085 Beach Billions

0085 Beach Billions

Not far from Laguna Niguel are mansions (surely very expensive) with private salt water swimming pools on the bluffs.

Brothers
I mentioned Bros in the title because although we each have three sisters and no brothers, we’re lucky in this regard too. First because we have great brothers in law whom we enjoy. Secondly because I had the great good fortune to enjoy a few years with Chris, my “brother” in the wonderful BBBS program.

Crazy With Chris

Crazy With Chris

We had so many fun times during those short years before he sadly moved away. We got to experience the deep caring of brothers we’d both missed out on. So it was delightful to hear from him today that he has a new “Smart” phone and might now be able to be in touch more again. That is, if he can figure out how to work what might actually be a more frustrating model than the ones Anne and I just got.

Religion
In texting with him about it today I realized that smartphones are a new religion.  Smartphones teach us patience and submission, and the fact that an all-powerful entity knows our every thought and action. It seems that Chris, Anne and I are not devotees. 🙂

2013/12/22

Home Lights

Old stories of flying sometimes touched on the heartwarming sight of lights burning to guide pilots home at night. With considerable skill and a good helping of luck, they’d navigate rickety and unreliable biplanes across empty darkness for hours. Literally kept alive as night descended by brief glimpses at compass and chart by a tiny red light kept dim to preserve night vision, and self-checking constantly without allowing fear of being lost as night crept in.

0037 Creeping Night

0037 Creeping Night

So very different for us winging home in Trusty Tripp from San Diego across the LA basin tonight, with familiar lights and myriad crowded freeways to guide us safely on past enchanted cloudscapes. Not to mention radio naviation aids those early pilots could only dream of. But even those are now far obsolete as we enjoy the latest GPS devices that turn night to day, in terms of knowing exactly where we are. So we have plenty of relaxed time to enjoy the sights, as Hwy.1 to Malibu slips twinkling past.

0039 You Are Here

0039 You Are Here

After the last light fades, we’re treated to the lights of home as we look across downtown Santa Barbara with the colors of business accented here and there by especially bright seasonal home lights.

0070 Santa Barbara Sparkle

0070 Santa Barbara Sparkle

But even without mentally traveling back a century to an open cockpit over a lonely black expanse, lining up to land at SBA brings a warm rush of comfort with her home lights burning brightly.

0073 Home Lights

0073 Home Lights

 

2013/12/18

Lizard’s Mouth

Right now for some reason the name somehow evokes the smell of recently eaten insects on the breath of some reptile. But in fact Lizard’s Mouth is one of our young Sarah’s fav local hangouts. Several times she’s wanted to take us there for a hike and scramble among the rocks. Now we better understand why.

7465 Lizard's Mouth

7465 Lizard’s Mouth

In the hour before sunset people were gathering for the show, which is surely spectacular there. This whole area of the mountainside is strewn with fascinating rock formations, and we’re enjoying looking thru the pix we snapped as we glided quietly by angling down toward SB. A mile or two East is another “rock garden” area with many silent stone sculptures.

7442 Another Rock Garden

7442 Another Rock Garden

My fav rock garden is actually several miles west of Lizard Rock, with another good rock garden between (so many rocks, so little time). But on this particular passage by this one, one clump of boulders caught my attention.

7441 Holey Rocks

7441 Holey Rocks

Unlike many “holey rocks” in our hills, these don’t seem to have been carved out by native peoples pounding acorns centuries ago. Instead my guess is these holes were carved by natural forces. Perhaps when they were on the sea floor, or as they rose thousands of feet along with what are now our mountains and were perhaps in a river for a time. Or maybe just soft areas in the sandstone yielded to the relatively light rainfall here over millennia. Sometimes taking in sculptures like these I imagine a time-lapse view of how features emerged in the ebb and flow of terrain and flickering surges of life between flashes of fire to etch textures of time on stone.

2013/12/16

Winter Sky

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,SB Region — John @ 22:20

We seem to be flying more the past week, taking brief flights almost every day (I’ll probably post some aerial pix soon). Partly it’s the wonderful Winter air. Like all planes, Tripp loves cool air. Like many aviators, we like the light this time of year. Like many Santa Barbarian spectators, we’re also enjoying the season’s colorful sunsets. Last night I snapped these during our walk.

7601 Mystery Moon

7601 Mystery Moon

Because it’s not quite full, the moon rose before sunset and was well above the mountains when the colors found their way through openings on the horizon to paint shapes here and there.

7602 Nearly Full

7602 Nearly Full

Over neighborhood windows illuminated in the flickering TV blue, this silent show played briefly outside. So many miracles around us go unnoticed.

As we walked up a nearby hill, the sun’s last flash of red from beyond the horizon hung over holiday lights in cloud strokes painted by invisible fingers of air.

7607 Cloud Flame

7607 Cloud Flame

Then red softened to allow subtler tones back into the sky as all color began to drain toward a Winter’s night dotted with holiday displays tilting hearts from the afterglow of 2013 toward another year.

7612 Wispy Afterglow

7612 Wispy Afterglow

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