John & Anne Wiley

2014/01/07

Salt Shapes

Soda Lake is a four or five hour drive from SB, but a happy half hour in Tripp. Rather than have to drive circuitous windy roads around and through the intervening mountain ranges, Tripp simply lifts over them to go direct. Once there, this playground of shapes entertains.

0323 Soda Lake Playground

0323 Soda Lake Playground

Those low mountains are the Temblor Range created by the turmoil on the San Andreas Fault, another attraction of this valley. Speaking of valleys, the hazy one beyond is home to Bakersfield and Fresno, with the Sierras in the distance. Here in the dry lake though, I’m quite drawn to the intricacy of shapes like this frozen lightning bolt.

0329 Intricate Etchings

0329 Intricate Etchings

But my favorite on this flight was a joyful romping reindeer shape.

0328 Romping Reindeer

0328 Romping Reindeer

The delighted leaping shout it makes with stirrups flying, and even a little heart shaped mark by the ear. The beginnings of a unicorn horn, and a wispy beard waggling in the breeze. Yes, this to me is a playful shape any artist could have fun with, especially on such a grand scale.

I wonder how many people ever get to see this perspective, how many of them would see the shapes as I do, and what it is in our psyche that translates natural patterns into art. Perhaps not all children see bunnies and castles in the clouds.

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Missing Persons

We were at the harbor heading back to SBA after a flight along part of the dry Santa Ynez River this evening when we heard a solemn call. A formation flight told ATC they were heading offshore to form up for a “Missing Man” flight over Montecito. They looked so beautiful in a sunset glow with Anacapa in the background.

0727 Honor Flight

0727 Honor Flight

Flights like this to honor a fallen comrade have been an aviation tradition for a century or more, and it was sweet to hear how ATC helped and protected them. It brought to mind the growing number of beloved Missing Persons in our life. Friends and family who have touched us, and at times seem to fly beside us on our adventures. I wish everyone could have an honor like this, in quiet remembrance of the people who shared their most treasured passion.

As we landed, we heard four of them call ATC again to say they were inbound to land at SBA behind us so I paused to snap this. They got special clearance to fly low over the field and then peel off in a “break” to turn back and land in sequence. Beautiful to watch.

0748 Formation Landing

0748 Formation Landing

We learned later that they’re the Bonanzas To Oshkosh formation flying group. Having flown to the massive Airventure (aka Oshkosh) gathering of aviators (see our “North By Northwest” Adventure), we understand that bond. We share the love of clear blue skies over green earth.

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