John & Anne Wiley

2018/02/26

Shadows of Color

Coming home from our 2017 mountain wildflower flight March 24th we saw Neverland. That former playground of Michael Jackson’s that had seemed drab when last we saw it, had burst into brilliant colors as if leaping from the shadows of memory.

7452 Train Time

7452 Train Time

I don’t know if the clock was accurate, but someone had clearly been working to keep it spiffy. Perhaps they were aided by the recent rain. Another floral name was also back in bloom, though seemingly less pampered out where colorful carnival rides had once cast their shadows and now is bare concrete.

7436 Missing Shadows

7436 Missing Shadows

The petting zoo now appears an Old West ghost town.

7402 Fantasy Town

7402 Fantasy Town

Mansions by the small lake while also quiet, seem especially well tended. Are they awaiting return of days gone by, or preparing for new dreamers?

7433 Leisure Life

7433 Leisure Life

Without pausing to ponder such questions we flew on past Nojoqui Falls, thrilled to see it gracefully spreading slender fingers of water again.

7475 Nojoqui Falls

7475 Nojoqui Falls

Winging through Gaviota Pass we greeted the ocean again where it met the colorful hills of last Spring at Hollister Ranch.

2414 Hollister Ranch

2414 Hollister Ranch

One last reminder of that rainy aftermath was Lake Los Carneros as we prepared to land back at SBA. The marsh beneath the footbridge was still mostly dry, but the lake did look less parched and bedraggled than in the exceptional drought of a few months earlier. Swimming above so much green erased brown to bring us briefly beyond the shadow of a drought.

2417 Lake Los Carneros

2417 Lake Los Carneros

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2018/02/25

Fires & Flowers

As we face yet another long hot summer fire season with exceptionally dry rainy season, it’s sobering to continue my catch up process of posting here. March 20 saw us taking the short flight to Santa Paula again for more aircraft pampering. Along the way we enjoyed more views of flowers on the hillsides near Ventura.

7252 Lupine

7252 Lupine

That particular hillside was especially attractive, where lupine minged with other wildflowers and crags from a recent fire. It also offered safe terrain and winds to fly within a few hundred feet and catch zoom pix like these that highlight the flowers.

7244 Patchwork

7244 Patchwork

Somewhere out beyond Santa Paula there was a wildfire painting a pall of smoke hinting at the largest fire in CA history that would devastate this whole region in a few months.

7232 Smoky Omen

7232 Smoky Omen

Most of the hillsides were still green though, so the next day we decided to stretch our wings with a flight out across Santa Ynez Valley. The rock formations there never cease to fascinate.

2380 Wrinkled Rock

2380 Wrinkled Rock

Sedimentary layers open pages of geology going back countless millennia beyond our brief time in the sun. Other rocks stand guard above eroded meadows dotted with blooms.

7363 Stone Castle

7363 Stone Castle

More sandstone layers lead the eye down into Zaca Lake nestled in a crook of the hidden valley.

7376 Zaca Lake

7376 Zaca Lake

The poppies ran amok on Grass Mountain, where our long zoom caught this relaxing scene.

7395 Grass Mtn Poppies

7395 Grass Mtn Poppies

Though pale in comparison with prior flights in the Figueroa Mountain area, the brief intense rain of early 2017 had painted some scattered hillsides and meadows in the hues of various blossoms. They describe delicate intriguing shapes telling the story of subtle variations in soil chemistry and many other factors over time.

7351 Hue of a Moment

7351 Hue of a Moment

2017/11/01

Halloween

Often as Halloween approaches we talk about whether to dress up, go to any of the various parties, or stroll Isla Vista where UCSB goes all out. Instead, in recent years we’ve mostly settled into a modest routine starting on Altered State St.

01306 Contrast

01306 Contrast

Walking and driving this SB “main street” we love looking at the families going from door to door with small kids at sunset. The different age groups have quite a different experience, and that first pic is an example. Sometimes it seems the 5-10 year old kids have the most fun, like this dino dancing down the sidewalk swinging a bucket of candy.

01299 Monster Bucket

01299 Monster Bucket

The street overflows with families at points, with sweet Life in abundance.

01295 Street Life

01295 Street Life

Some scenes capture my imagination, like a giant mouse stalking an innocent mother and children.

01305 Mouse Menace?

01305 Mouse Menace?

Pets get in on the act too. Mostly dogs are subjected to that humiliation it seems. This trio apparently took it in stride more than some we saw trying to escape their garb.

01318 Patient Pooches

01318 Patient Pooches

As sunset turns to night, the crowd begins shifting from families toward teens and adults. These women enjoying dinner and drinks were probably headed to a party next.

01316 Circle of Friends

01316 Circle of Friends

We saw others with cameras taking it in, but these two appeared more interested in botany and intricate shadows on a wall.

01320 Shutter Surround

01320 Shutter Surround

Back at home, a family of friends stopped by to provide our only chance to give away treats. Great way to complete our evening and shift toward a quiet night remembering this and so many other Halloweens of a life time.

01321 Sweet Family

01321 Sweet Family

2017/09/07

Happy Home

Even after our incredible “O.U.” adventure to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia with lots of flying fun, we were still glad to be home. In fact, we started flying here again the very next day.

3745 Happy Home

3745 Happy Home

There had been some rain while we were gone, and things were delightfully green. Up in the hills the town’s most popular waterfalls were flowing.

4049 Popular Pools

4049 Popular Pools

A week later the greening had continued, framing our familiar airport KSBA.

1212 Greener

1212 Greener

The next time we flew, the foothills were a rolling riot of green.

1449 Green Blanket

1449 Green Blanket

Subsequent flights added clearer air for even more spectacular views of our favorite places.

4520 Clear Coast

4520 Clear Coast

Looking up State Street toward the mountains was breathtaking.

4526 Up State

4526 Up State

The placid waters off Goleta Beach were soothing.

4754 Goleta Beach

4754 Goleta Beach

At the end of January, we spotted a less-known creek pool quietly inviting visitors.

4836 Quiet Pool

4836 Quiet Pool

In mid-February there was a big gathering at western Isla Vista.

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

The U.C.S.B. campus was especially beautiful that day.

5054 U.C. Splendor

5054 U.C. Splendor

Back near town, Shoreline Park offered a sparkling green introduction to Our Town.

5093 Emerald City

5093 Emerald City

Some days there are schools of fish so big they make shifting shapes like this one sheltering near the pier.

1188 School Shape

1188 School Shape

Often the pelicans, gulls and other birds join with dolphins and other predators at such schools for a fish feast.

5109 Feeding Frenzy

5109 Feeding Frenzy

A big storm soon after muddied the water for a major change of scene.

5377 Brown Out

5377 Brown Out

A bridge project downtown was set back when the storm runoff washed away forms just when they were ready for the concrete to be poured into them.

5450 Bridge Setback

5450 Bridge Setback

But local surfers were treated to some memorable rides.

5490 Surf City

5490 Surf City

I’ll continue this catch up with more pix from our flights this year, in the next post. It’s fun to see them again while sharing them here, reminding us yet again how happy we are to be Home.

2017/08/28

Love & Letting Go

Feelings ran high, beneath the surface, as the family gathered for a last night and morning in paradise. So between collecting our things and tidying up, we paused for a few more moments enjoying the kids’ delight.

104846 Last Moments

104846 Last Moments

All too soon our last farewells were done. We began dispersing across the West in jets high over the deep waters as this journey slipped into memory over the horizon. Our own afternoon jet pointed a wing toward the parking spot of the GA plane we’d flown to Hāna at sunset.

135051 Wing Memories

135051 Wing Memories

It seemed a heartbeat until we passed yesterday’s GA takeoff, climbing toward home.

135833 Last Glance

135833 Last Glance

Watching the world turn far below, waves of memories reflected on the Pacific. At some point clear sky changed to dotted clouds yielding to a solid barrier between us and the sea. After sunset I felt the start of our descent toward LAX and opened Avare on my phone to follow along. We changed planes and in a blink we emerged again into rain below the clouds to the welcoming lights of Goleta.

FinalRwy7-SBA

Final, Runway 7, SBA

Even in the dark it was easy to pick out the familiar places we’ve flown over in small planes, and visited on the ground. As wheels touched home I snapped one last memory on this trip of a lifetime.

Touching Home

Touching Home

Writing this months later, I dimly recall the Dreams we had of that journey. I recall transforming those dreams into a solid Plan, and unfolding and adapting that Plan into a trip we actually Take. Now we Remember the trip and notice those memories softening into an evolving Dream.

It seems to me we try to hold onto the people, things and memories we love. At the same time we learn that change is constant, and often painful. Loving is the easy part for me. So perhaps the lesson is: Love is about Letting Go.

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