Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer B

The first week of summer brought with it sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies -- weather worthy of Santa Barbara's reputation. But the weeks and months before and since have been dominated by fog. Our Summer Solstice Parade (see June 2011), along with high school and college graduations, and just the influx of seasonal tourists doubled our population, flooding our streets and turning serene SB into a teeming bumper to bumper hub. This week, finally, we've received full sunny days, and yesterday, the beach was packed with sunworshipers.

Late May and early June brought our Jacaranda trees into bloom. This year's bounty appeared fuller and more prolific than I can remember.  Throughout the city our tree-lined streets were clad in fluffy clouds of lavender. They lingered for weeks, with blossoms sprinkling sidewalks, lawns and windshields like purple confetti announcing summer's approach.

Last week, I bought a gift for a friend at one of my favorite shops: Lewis and Clark in La Arcada Plaza. La Arcada is a courtyard with Old World Spanish architecture. It flanks our art museum, and is home to restaurants, galleries, fountains and boutiques (the window washer in the foreground wearing all white, is a fixture of La Arcada. A statue sculpted entirely of bronze.)

On my way back to the parking lot, I glanced toward our courthouse -- the heart of our downtown -- the way I always do whenever I'm in its presence. I took in its tile roof, its graceful arch, its tall clock tower that looks out to a 360 degree view of the city, and felt a certain awe, even after all these years. The interior and the exterior of Santa Barbara's courthouse are equal to some of the loveliest buildings in Italy or Spain. And as I stopped to snap a couple of photos, the clock began to chime. It resounded through all twelve numbers of the hour like a validation, a booming voice bellowing, "You're here, Anitra, you're here, at this median hour, in perfect timing. I salute you with both hands straight up. Have a beautiful day."

Welcome, welcome lovely readers; it's good to be back. I look forward to returning two months from now,  on the 15th of September. Until then, cool breezes and happy days to you.


  1. Hello Aneet!

    So good to hear from you again and enjoy another lovely post full of vibrant photos. I hope all is well with you and that your assignment is going well too. I have been extremely busy and can't believe we're already halfway through July.

    Santa Barbara on a summer day seems like such a tranquil oasis from the hustle and bustle of the greater Los Angeles area. Once again your beautiful photos capture the feel of the season so well. We've had some interesting weather so far this summer here in southern California haven't we? Did you get some muggy days right after the 4th? It sure felt like Hawaii down along this part of the coast for a few days. Then there have been other days where it's been warm to the point where the sun seems to bleach the sky almost white. Needless to say I'm eager for the return of the fog.

    Have a wonderful rest of the summer, and I look forward to your next post as summer will be transitioning into fall at that point.

    Best wishes and warm regards as always,


    1. Joseph,

      I so enjoy your comments. Hearing of your take on things and of your life in the city. We didn't get those humid days, I think the fog blotted it all out. And of course, we are usually cooler here, 100 miles above often adds up to minus ten degrees. I had friends arrive from LA, dressed in swimsuits ready for the beach. It was cold here, and from the highway, the fog obscured the mountains and the sea. But I have to say that that today, the beach is crowded with people and you would think that summer had truly finally arrived.

      I hope that you have a wonderful summer too, Joseph, and that you find time to explore your creative side.

      Sending a truck full of good wishes, ~ Aneet

  2. There's just something about being able to say "In the shade of the evening, under the jacaranda tree, when the blossoms splashed across the sidewalk like a purple rain under streetlamps and the courthouse bell tolled the midnight hour..."


  3. Wow,

    Louis, it's amazing to see my words become liquid when run through the elixir of your poetic mind. How fun. And I love that, "splashed across the sidewalk like purple rain." Impressive.

    All that space and desert air feeds the creative spirit.

    Thanks so much for sharing. My regards to you and your family, ~ Anitra

  4. Anitra, it's pretty easy to wax poetic when you find yourself caught up in a blog written by someone who makes a perfect tour guide, the one who points out sculpted window washers in the corners of the city and evokes hints of the Mediterranean along the Pacific coast by inviting the reader to compare what he sees with Italy and Spain!

    All is well here with us and I'm hoping the same can be said for you and yours. Last time we chatted, I made a cryptic comment about a project with which I was involved but didn't want to jinx. The link below will take you to one of my new activities-- something I truly feel honored to have been asked to do.

    Wishing you the best (and happiest) of summers and looking forward to exchanging howdies with you again come September. Now, I think I shall close my eyes and let my mind savor those jacarandas with purple flowers almost as lovely as those of our desert mountain laurels!

  5. Louis,

    Hello again. Thank you so much for sharing your (what I assume is a)newly created website for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It is beautifully done! I'm sorry that this blog doesn't allow a direct connection. But at least we have the info posted here.

    I understand what you mean about not sharing to avoid jinxing your project. Many artists feel that way. What you've done looks to me like an enormous amount of work.

    I look forward to exploring the site in more depth in the future. So happy you have shared your gifts with us Louis; it's an honor.

    Once again, sending my good wishes your way, ~ Aneet

  6. Aneet,

    How wonderful to see new posts from you!

    I can tell you find such happiness and serenity in Santa Barbara. You still have joy and wonder, even though you've lived there for quite some time...which makes you one of the lucky ones. As I fight the traffic, congestion, and general rudeness of Los Angeles on a daily basis, it makes me wonder if I too will retreat to another quieter place one day.

    To give Los Angeles a fair shake, I do say one of my favorite times of the year is when the jacarandas bloom. The valley streets fill with purple flowers and for a moment at least, it makes me smile as I drive by.

    Mary and I send you our best wishes as always.


    1. Tom, hello,

      So good to hear from you.

      And yes, I am fortunate to find so much pleasure in my environment. But I have to say, that SB is not always serene, and there have been years that have not been so peaceful. There are certainly many factors that come into play.

      I know people in LA who really love it. I think much of it has to do with how you're wired. There are places in the city that really feel quite removed from the busyness. I also think that one can find peace almost anywhere, if you're able to create a refuge for yourself, a place to reboot.

      I trust that your career is sprinting forward. You are an inspiration.

      Peace and harmony to you and your lovely wife, Mary, ~ Aneet

  7. Jonathan ChesterJuly 17, 2013 at 8:12 PM


    This reminds me of a Chinese Restaurant. I'll have one post from Summer A and two posts from Summer B.

    What a cool shot of your reflection. I remember when you did a reflection shot on a past post on the windshield of a car.

    Please chalk me up for a Chicken Picatta. One of my most favorite dishes they were serving at that restaurant in this post. La Arcada looks like a fun place to walk around and shop.

    Both my hands are up as well to salute you Aneet just as that clock did. Hope your summer is going great!!!


    1. Jonathan,

      I hope your summer is also going well, and that baseball is happily factoring into the picture. When you mention the photo with my reflection, as there are two, I am assuming that you mean the one with the clouds. I was so surprised to see the double image framed so perfectly by my hat when I looked into the gallery window; it reminded me a lot of a painting by Magritte.

      Thank you, thank you for your hands up salute. So glad you share here, Jonathan, you always make me smile.

      Happy days and cool breezes, ~ Aneet

      And oh, your order is coming right up.

  8. Your reflection upon a painting of clouds, worthy of René Magritte! And the little turtle-absorbed boy unaware of the stabilizing hand at his shirt-seam, delightful. You transmit the magic of jacaranda blossoms and, like the court house clock, I'm glad you're here. Brava!

    1. Geo,

      I am glad you are here too! Thank you for your beautiful words. They are valued.

      Ever more joy and wonder, anitra

  9. Hi Anitra,

    Where to start? Such a variety of interesting photos!

    As in your Summer A post, you've done the unexpected by editing the mountains in the first picture (unless my screen is going bad!). It creates such a different dimension to the foreground.

    The Jacaranda tree blossoms are amazing. I love how you captured the red fence in the background providing a bold balance to all the softness.

    La Arcada must be a difficult place to leave! Seems as if there would be so many things to see just lingering in the shops and restaurants, watching people enjoying the environment and architecture. The bronze sculpture is so full of life!

    Ah, the courthouse and the captivating views I remember from long ago. Maybe again someday!

    I did a double-take at the ghost in the framed picture before I realized it was your reflection. Very imaginative! And such fun framing in your last self-portrait.

    Thanks for sharing your images and thoughts. Wishing you a terrific rest of summer.


  10. Alan,

    Hello and welcome.

    So glad you enjoyed "Summer B". You're right about something being different in the first photo. It was shot from the courthouse clock tower, and I added some paint features in Photoshop.

    I appreciate all your impressions of this post. La Arcada is actually a bit smaller than it appears in these photos, and often, especially in the mornings, it is rather quiet there. It also has a way of taking you out of your daily concerns and bringing you into the present moment. I always feel a bit outside of time when I'm there.

    I also enjoyed your comments on my reflection photos. It's so much fun, and surprising too, when these unexpected images and opportunities present themselves. That is part of the pleasure of doing this blog, and of having insightful viewers like you; it encourages me to look beyond the obvious.

    I appreciate what you see and say Alan. Once again wishing you creative inspiration. ~ Anitra

  11. Anitra, have you ever walked in the Koko Head Botanical Garden in Oahu? It's in the crater of a tuff cone--an absolute paradise for plant-lovers and photographers alike! I posted a few pictures here:

    1. Hello Mr. Uva,

      It's so nice to hear from you. To answer your question, no, I have not been to Oahu's Botanical Garden. I have visited Oahu and a number of Hawaii's islands. It is a glorious place.

      I enjoyed visiting your blog and seeing the wonderful sights there. I'm looking forward to returning and reading and viewing more.

      Thanks so much for sharing. Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  12. HI Aneet,
    Such Beautiful Pictures,and words.I wish I was in Santa Barbara right now,relaxing
    and taking in all the beauty.This year for the first time in 20 years I have had to work
    in August,My profesion as a Flight Attendant affords me great benefits,but the most
    treasured is the ability to work or not to work.I am Blessed that I only do one or
    twp trips a month to Europe Totaling 6 days.This year we are short of Crews and Im
    working 5 Trips to Europe..........I feel out of place........Thank God for my Sons who
    now work the Family business........But Im grateful for all things.As always your Blog brings such Inspirations.I feel grateful to be Able to see the Purple Jacarandas,and the Reflections of YOU the beautiful soul who inspires me to appreciate,and live a better Life.Take Care and Hope to See your blog soon Roger

  13. Roger,

    It's delightful to hear from you. I understand how you feel. It is wonderful to have that freedom of being able to work or not. Though, with a career or with the daily chores of living, there are always those life tasks waiting. In Zen they say we always have 84 tasks. I remind myself of this when I am scrambling to get through mountains of work.

    I want to thank you so much for your kind, generous and humbling words. You inspire me as well. The seeds you've grown and sow within your family and your dedication to keeping the awe.

    Sending my warm wishes your way, ~ Aneet