John & Anne Wiley

2016/03/29

Time & Space

One time I built a small cabin on the cold slope of a mountain. Snow and silence were Winter companions. On occasion the echo of a small plane passing would lift my heart above the trees into an expansive view of imagination. So when Tripp recently transported us to this scene a few minutes’ flight delight from SB, my heart was back in that long ago Northern forest.

7591 Near & Far

7591 Near & Far

This stand of trees huddled among ancient stones draped in dwindling snow are so near our home. Yet to reach them without Tripp would take arduous days putting them far beyond the reach of nearly all our neighbors.

7610 Big Pine

7610 Big Pine

In much of the country Pine Mountain would be big but few on the ground around here ever see it behind our smaller and nearer mountains, themselves tall by U.S. standards. An easy Tripp trip beyond towers massive Mt. Whitney, itself blending with kindred peaks and obscured by smaller cousins at its feet. But on this day after about the time and expense some of our neighbors invested in a lunch downtown, we took this last look and turned back toward our home by the sea, to dream of time and space.

7562 Down to the Sea

7562 Down to the Sea

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2016/03/17

Flower Flight

After years of epic drought our mountains have recently been kissed by a few good rains, and what looked completely dead a couple of months ago is now blushing with color.

2066 West of Fig

2066 West of Fig

The hills West of Figueroa Mountain at the northern edge of Santa Ynez Valley looked promising as we approached. Here’s what we saw closer to that far slice of poppies on the slope of the top-right pic above.

2070 Slope Slice

2070 Slope Poppy Slice

Other years before the drought we’d sometimes see lupines so thick they painted the hills brilliant shades of blue. Still, this is the first time they’ve been thick enough to show blue hints from the air as they frolic in the sun alongside poppies dazzling the wizened oaks.

2093 Frolic of Lupines

2093 Frolic of Lupines

In case you’d like to try finding these patches on the dirt roads, here’s come context looking East toward Figueroa Mountain.

2076 Flowers to Fig

2076 Flowers to Fig

Nearby we also passed what’s left of the late Michael Jackson’s fanciful Neverland Ranch. The name is still tended in flowers and butterflies between foundations of two amusement rides that had been there some years ago. The train tracks bottom-left bring back an impression of the whimsical place he built.

2060 Michael's Neverland Rides

2060 Michael’s Neverland Rides

The iconic train station near the mansions and lake is looking even better, helped by the brilliant green brought forth by the rain. Does the lonely sound of a steam engine whistle ever echo across the narrow valley between these two floral displays?

2033 Neverland Train Station

2033 Neverland Train Station

2016/03/11

Living Colors

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 09:01

The colors around town are more alive since the last big rain. Even the airport has big patches of verdant grass.

8676 Green SBA

8676 Green SBA

Even our Tea Gardens, made infamous by the recent devastating fire that started there, now wear a cloak of innocent green. Some of the structures there have also been restored since the fire.

1745 Green Tea

1745 Green Tea

Out by Summerland the non-native mustard grass was blooming, adding a guilty blush of yellow here and there.

1641 Summerland Bloom

1641 Summerland Bloom

This hillside in particular has a velvety look that accents the sweeping shape of it wedged into the scene.

1643 Velvet Wedge

1643 Velvet Wedge

We’re excited to see if some wildflowers begin to bloom sometime after the next rain that’s forecast to arrive tomorrow.

2016/03/09

Water!

After earlier rains, some quite heavy, we looked for signs of water when flying the region. Nothing. The waterfalls in particular were nearly all bone dry. Well this time the storm apparently overcame the drought at least enough to bring Tangerine Falls back to life.

1726 Tangerine Alive

1726 Tangerine Alive

Contrast that with this pic from barely a month ago, when it was bleached white and the vegetation appeared all but dead.

9004 Tangerine Dead

9004 Tangerine Dead

Also notice the bare stick of a “dead” tree coming up between the dry boulders at the base of the falls, and compare that spot with this lush pond with leaves budding on that same tree.

1726 Tangerine Falls Pool

1726 Tangerine Falls Pool

These before/after pix are from different angles but just a glance reveals the transformation, and comparing them in detail using rock features and plant locations the difference is startling. Now with more rain in the forecast, we’re getting excited to see even more waterfalls “spring” to life. There is something deeply nourishing to the soul, in the sights and sounds of a mountain waterfall. A moist path leads beneath the falls to subconscious healing.

2016/03/03

More Islands

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 23:19

I have a few spare minutes, so here are a few more pix from our islands flight. As we descended toward San Miguel from our high crossing of the Channel, I managed to penetrate the gathering haze with a polarized filter for this view of Santa Cruz stretching East toward Anacapa.

0664 Santa Cruz Island

0664 Santa Cruz Island

Many beaches on the islands were hosting pinniped gatherings like this North coast cove one on Santa Rosa.

0764 Pinniped Party

0764 Pinniped Party

The small island off the northeast end of San Miguel has an interesting shape (is it some critter with large body and pointy head?), and a steep rugged shoreline that makes it a great bird sanctuary.

0818 Bird Island

0818 Bird Island

At the left end of the larger “body” part is this hole toward the left end of this detail pic, that might spout water if big waves from just the right direction at high tide hit that crevice in the rock.

0821 Blowhole or Sinkhole?

0821 Blowhole or Sinkhole?

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