Saturday, September 14, 2013

Savoring Summer

Today, I perch on the cusp of fall. The days are growing shorter, but my memories of the second half of summer remain bright. Visits with friends took me to Santa Barbara's harbor several times. You'd think that after 33 years of living here I might become inured to the same old, same old, "There it is, the blue Pacific" yawn. But it's just the opposite. Every time I visit the harbor, I relish it more.

Shore birds foraging, frolicking and wading in the shallows put on a constant and ever-changing show. A steady stream of sailboats -- their silky banners coasting past Stearn's Warf -- is another captivating sight. The colorful parade of boats leaving and returning to the harbor, 
keeps me scanning the water, my head in perpetual motion, turning from left to right
 as if tracking a tennis match at Wimbledon. 

An empty barge invites droves of pelicans, cormorants and a night heron or two. A few spirited egrets get into the mix. One balances on a tightrope. 

Black-hooded night herons breed and sleep in the trees, and pelicans amass on the sand spits. In summer, nestlings hatch in the tall ficus trees adjacent to our public swimming pool. On warm August evenings, after watching fleshy, featherless humans splash and cavort all day, juvenile herons and young egrets descend from their nests, and take their turn in the swimming pool.

This summer, after having fallen more in love with the harbor than ever, I began to view Lazy Acres Health Food Store on the Mesa, differently. Lazy Acres has always seemed too far away from my neighborhood to frequent. But this summer, I changed my tune. I began to see shopping there as an opportunity for an adventure. I realized that I could use going there as an excuse to take the coast route, where I could then tool languidly along the shore. On my way to Lazy Acres, I could scout out activities at the harbor, I could spot sunbathers savoring summer's August days. I could see sailboats swirling across the channel, and catch new sights at every turn.

One afternoon on my way to the market, I saw a fleet of rainbow-colored sailboats racing on Leadbetter Beach. On my way home, just 45 minutes later, parachutes had appeared. 
Wind driven para-sailors embracing gusty breezes, were flying their chutes above the water 
like red, yellow and turquoise balloons.

On Labor Day I drove to L.A. to visit my daughter and few old friends. After a tasty brunch at Le Cirq, on Melrose Avenue, I found myself hankering to be back home. But my commitment promised two more days. Closed in by city streets, I craved the refuge of nature--longed for it as if for air. After sitting in a park across the street from the iconic, pink stucco Beverly Hills Hotel, and jotting a few pages in my journal, I decided to hunt for more greenery. And so, I set sail on an exploratory outing. I drove my gray Toyota up into the hills of Brentwood in search of an undeveloped canyon I had heard about--a nature preserve. Once there, I found the area weathered and dusty. But even though the city encompassed it on all sides, I found surprising life there. In fact, for the second time ever, I came face to face with the glorious presence of a wood duck. After all the magnificent scenes I witnessed this summer at Santa Barbara's harbor, I have to say, I found summer's crowning glory deep in the hidden heart of L.A.

***  Hello, hello beautiful people. It's so good to return. WELCOME!
I plan to make my next post (once again) two months down the road. This will bring us to November 15. Until then wishing you rich and happy days,    ~   Aneet


  1. Egrets balancing on tightropes? Ah, Anitra, who says the world isn't full of magic? I daresay it's those poor souls who never think to take a turn onto a side road as they wind their ways through canyons of concrete and steel. If they did, they might (gasp) find Mother Nature refuses to abandon those who seek her out. Heaven forbid they should see the opportunity for adventure in a trip to the grocery store that's a bit farther than they want to drive. But, thank goodness, you are not one of those people. And how much richer we are for it.

    Needless to say, thank you, thank you for this latest visit with us! I've just finished the annual time of self-reflection and meditation that comes every September or October and your blog was a wonderful way to start the time until next year's time of introspection and spiritual renewal.

    Autumn's in the desert air, Ms Ford! In just a few weeks, it'll be time for Madame and I to fire up the jitney and clatter our way across the dry country to Houston and Louisiana to visit family and friends. The only drawback to traveling at this time of year is that I'll likely miss the flowering of our tarbushes but perhaps one or two of them will linger on with their blooms until we return.

    Btw, Howdies and a tip of the Stetson to that Incognitra lady! She's strikes me as someone with a deliciously sly and slightly wicked sense of humor.


    1. Louis,

      It's wonderful to hear from you. I so enjoy your poetic cadence and imaginative words. "Mother Nature refuses to abandon those who seek her out." I love that. Those may be words to live by.

      I understand the need for spiritual reflection and renewal. I think it's important to find time for this. I want to mention that I visited one of your art websites and looked once again at some of your amazing photographs. You are a multi-talented artist.

      I'm so glad you've come to visit. I trust you and your Madame will have a great time firing up the jitney and visiting family and friends.

      wishing you and your family my fond regards, Anitra

    2. It's an oddity of the human condition that as much as I'm enjoying a break from piddlin' around with pictures, I'm chomping at the bit to start work on something new! Thank you for your kind words about my work. Looking forward to your next blog and wishing you and yours much magic and joy.

    3. I would think wherever you go, you'll have your camera at the ready.

      Happy trails :)

  2. Thank you for these delightful descriptions and pictures. I used to do gardening at a property that had two tall pines which night herons had colonized. Their racket was hilarious --but I always wore my broadest-brimmed hat there.

    1. Geo,

      It's lovely to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The next time I'm in heron territory, I will take my cue from you and wear a hat.

      I want to mention that I visited your blogs, and once again read some of your exquisite poems. I also enjoyed "Trainride of the Inigmas", and your humorous posts on Canned Dog and Cat.

      Sending Peace and Light, aneet

  3. Hello again Anitra!

    Your photos and lyrical descriptions always make Santa Barbara seem like an idyllic, tranquil world apart from the constant hustle and bustle of down here in the metro Los Angeles area. I've only been there once, 20 summers ago as a pre-teen, and was very impressed with Santa Barbara's beautiful sights and serene environment.

    I'm glad you were able to find a peaceful oasis in the middle of Los Angeles. They're often tough to find, but we just have to look for them. After all, gold is where you find it.

    So as we transition into fall, I of course continue to wish you all the best on your assignments and eagerly await your next post. By then I will have completed my upcoming travels, and I hope to be able to share some good stories with you. I will have my camera at the ready at all times.

    Best wishes and warm regards to you Aneet,


    1. Joseph, hello, hello,

      It's always delightful to hear from you. It's a pleasure getting your impressions and reading your words.

      I'm so glad that you're planning a trip. You deserve rewards.

      Gosh, it's been 20 summers since you were here in SB. That's quite a long time. It's surprising how well you remember it. Speaking of gold, I'm sure you will find beauty and rich experiences on your travels.

      Thank you so much for sharing with us Joseph. Sending my fond regards,

      ~ Aneet

  4. P.S. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Incognitra. She, like Svetlana Svelte from "Captain Klutz" deserves a Marc Breslow closeup.



  5. Hey Hey Hey Dear Lady......

    For a second when I read the title of this post "A Summer For The Birds", I thought you actually had a lousy rotten summer. I'm glad this wasn't the case.

    Personally, when I visit the blue Atlantic on this side of the country, I do yawn. Except of course when I see the Statue of Liberty off the Belt Parkway when on my way to Brooklyn. I can never get tired of that site!

    That photo in the side bar of you with blonde hair is real nice. I've never seen you with blonde hair but it does look great I must admit. (The blue hair was quite interesting too) It's fun to see you with these different looks.

    After viewing these nice photos of the water, it's times like these I wish I could have learned to swim at an early age. Although I can't swim, I guarantee you that I can drown with the best of them!

    I've been having insomnia lately so I think I will put on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" tonight so I can cure myself by listening to his voice that should put me to sleep within about 5 seconds.

    Cheers for a nice upcoming Autumn and as always, the best of everything to you beautiful lady.....


    1. Hey, hey Jonathan,

      I hope you have had a great summer. Though insomnia is not much fun. You may have discovered something with your Alfred Hitchcock cure. Hope it works. If not, there is always Deepok Choprah.

      I'm glad you mentioned that from the title of my post, you thought I might have had a lousy summer. I had that thought too when I chose the title, but then, I decided to just go with it and not over think it. Maybe I should invest a little deeper creative thought.

      As always, your comment brought chuckles, 'you can't swim, but you can drown with the best of them.' You really do have a great sense of humor!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Jonathan. My warm regards,

      ~ Anitra

  6. Lovely photos. You are a good photographer

    1. Hi Ronald,

      So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. Glad you like my photos.

      My good wishes to you, ~ Anitra

  7. Hi Anitra,

    What is it about a harbor that is so hypnotizing and mesmerizing? There's something very soothing to just stare at the smooth artistry of the dancing motions timed to wind and water. Life seems simpler, better paced. I can't help but think of Vince Guarldi's song "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" whenever I see sailboats.

    Thanks for bringing these vivid images of your peaceful Santa Barbara and the sanctuary you found in busy LA. I can almost feel the sea breeze with the movements you captured. How amazing a ship passing by had your name on it! ;) Very clever of you!

    Love the Incognitra image. You are so imaginative!

    I hope you and your family are doing well. Enjoy the rest of fall.


  8. Hello Alan,

    Lovely to hear from you and to read your fluid prose. I enjoyed your descriptions of harbors and sailboats. I trust you are doing more writing. You seem to be in the flow.

    Surprising that you caught my copyright notice on the hull of the boat. Really the only place it read clearly :) I imagine you are pursuing your creative desires in your wonderful environment.

    It's a delight to receive your ideas and impressions. Sending my good wishes to you and you wife.

    Sincerely, Aneet

  9. Hi Anitra:

    You've caught some wonderful images of a fleeting summer. As I'm reading this, the Midwest is bracing for some chilly weather. I enjoyed all the pictures but especially the ones where the wildlife live peacefully in the undeveloped canyon. I can't wait to see what other Incognitra images you will have--just in time for Halloween!

    I hope you have a peaceful and beautiful fall. I'm glad that you will be able to share more images before the holidays.

    Take care,
    Marie Lazzara

  10. Hello Marie,

    So nice to receive your warm and thoughtful words. I trust that things in your world with your family and career are going well. Hearing from you is always a special treat.

    I'm happy that you enjoyed the undeveloped canyon photos. It's one thing to have an experience of something and another to make it into something to share with others (especially on-line in this format.) Seeing the wood ducks was its own reward, but sharing them makes the experience even more alive.

    Thank you so much for your good wishes. I also want to wish you a lovely month to come.

    Sincerely, ~ Anitra