Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sunrise on Calle Cortita

When I arrive on this hill above Santa Barbara, the lights of the city are still glowing in the half-dark. On one side, I see the city and the harbor, on the other, the curving coastline with an ocean silvered by the morning sky. I sit in my car and watch the unfolding.

The mountains silhouetted against the first tinge of dawn, rise, ripple and fall like frozen waves. At this early hour, I'm betting on color: color, shape and some luminous image only appearing once. Something memorable like last night's rain whooshing, shushing and pelting the walls of the house -- the first real precipitation we've seen in six months.

And there they are, pink clouds hovering above Santa Cruz Island 25 miles out. Its broad presence stretched wide across the channel like a snoozing iguana. And now, the ocean too is reflecting mauve: creamy pink enveloping the harbor and sliding into slips like shiny fingers.

Stillness hovers and morning seems to be holding its breath. In the quiet, it appears nothing is out there in the shrubbery of the canyon. But this is the home of coyotes, and moments ago, when I climbed the hill in dim light to capture a view of the cove, I thought of them, the coyotes in a pack -- and me (still in my sleep sweatshirt), not even as large as a full-grown deer. I kept snapping photos, but then opted to quick-step back down the hill and get into my car.

The views everywhere, even from behind my windshield suffice. But I'll go out again, just stay close to the door of my car until dawn grows brighter.

Hal's house on the edge of the canyon, with its spectacular view of the city and the ocean -- was sold. Hal, a gregarious fellow, would, when he saw a photographer taking photos through the open space between his garage and house, greet you in the street. He loved to talk about how he came to purchase this property considered a risky location years ago. And then, he'd invite you onto his deck with its unobstructed vista and say, "Be my guest. Take as many photos as you'd like, and please, come back anytime."

Where Hal is, I can;t say. I'd guess at Val Verde retirement village at the edge of the city, a community nestled behind the hills of Hope Ranch and closed off from ocean views. I could tell immediately that Hal was gone. New hedges had been planted, tall ones, designed to block views from the street, and to discourage any artist or interloper with a hankering for beauty.

"This is mine dammit! I paid 3 mil for this crib. You don't deserve it, get out of my hair, get off my shoulder!" It took no special skill to sniff out the difference between this new John Doe and the old tar Hal.

While taking photos with John Doe's new hedges sprouting into my picture, the new growth appeared like vines of barbed wire. I thought of the Bruno Mars song, "Locked out of Heaven," and the random words: A prison inside out.

Scouting new angles for when the view through Hal's house is completely obscured, I went into the street and climbed higher onto the hill, losing my view of the ocean, but finding a fetching scene of the city. As I snapped my photos from this new vantage point, I had to blink and look more than twice at what had manifested. Across the city to the west, in the sky above Ellings Park -- surprise! A rainbow shooting through a cloud.


Hello Dear Viewers, welcome back. It's great to see you here again. I plan to stay with this every-other month schedule. That means I will return after the New Year -- 2015, yep, really. It's a date: January 15th. Until then, sunny skies, warm breezes and a heart-filled holiday season.

Gratefully yours,    ~   Aneet

PS: Click on the photos for fuller panoramic views.


  1. Magnificent photographs which make the viewer wonder how you mixed the medium of watercolor with that of photography. They look that unreal - but unreal isn't the word to describe it - it's just beautiful. You have quite an eye for composition and a talent for describing how you got there.

    1. Paul, hi,

      So good to see you here. Thank you for sharing your words and impressions.You are kind and generous and I enjoy reading your point of view.

      My sincere good wishes, ~ Anitra

  2. A magical street with such wonders along it. You captured a beautiful succession of moments from Calle Cortita, and described incomparable scenes incomparably well.

    1. Geo welcome,

      It's always a pleasure to see you here. It's wonderful to share these moments from time and to see them reflected back to me with new eyes and such original words.

      Blessings and kindness, ~ Aneet

  3. Hello Aneet!

    The beauty of your photographs contrasts with the ugliness of John Doe's selfish attitude. I thought about it, and what came to my mind was that there is nothing permanent in this world and sometimes unfortunately we just can't go back to certain places.

    Yet, the picture of the rainbow and your description of it breaking through the clouds serve as a reminder that there is always beauty in this world, and not everything is as dreary and ugly as John Doe's attitude.

    Wishing you a joyous holiday season, and all the best for the new year with my fondest regards,


    1. Joseph, hello,

      It's so good to see you here. You speak wise words. I'm really taken by the depth of your perception. Thank you so much for sharing your insight.

      And Yes, I want to wish you too joy, warmth and the comfort of camaraderie on this wonderful upcoming holiday.

      Sincerely, ~ Aneet

  4. Aneet, Hey Hey Hey...........

    How has your Autumn been? These photos are magnificent! The one at the top reminds me of my trip coming home from Australia this past March. I remember coming in to land at LAX from Sydney at sunrise. The views from the left side of that Qantas 747 looked just like that photo. It sounds like there's much to endure when snapping these shots. Watch out for that pack of coyotes....(I mean the construction workers who must whistle at you when you're walking). Coyotes, snakes, lions, tigers and bears, oh my! If that was me, I would probably be taking those snap shots from the highest branch I could find as far up the tree as possible! (LOL). This John Doe character sounds like a transplanted New Yorker......and if not.....who knows where he's transplanted from?

    Anyhow, with all that being said........I want to wish you and the family a very happy and joyous Thanksgiving!


  5. Jonathan,

    Hello, hello! My autumn has been remarkable, thank you :) And yours?

    I'm delighted that you like my photos, and that the first one reminds you of a memorable experience of landing in L.A. I too had a memorable sight at LAX, but mine was on departure. When LA is clear and clean, it's a beautiful city. I felt like I was looking down on Rio de Janeiro.

    And yes, it figures that even though Santa Barbara is so much smaller that LA, it's all about perspective. Both cities have much the same weather and coloration in the sky.

    I can see that your sense of humor is still in great form. I wish that it were construction workers up there at the top of the hill. Well, actually, not really. That solitude is such a treasure, and particularly at dawn.

    John Doe, a New Yorker, Yes, that makes sense. But we have those varmints everywhere. Maybe he's an escaped coyote. Okay, my flight of fancy has leaped too far and gotten itself entangled in a tree branch.

    And now to say that it's super seeing you here, Jonathan, I hope and trust that your Thanksgiving will be happy and warm and filled with deliciousness..

    Sending my fond wishes your way, ~ Aneet

  6. Just now able to sit down and savor the writing and photography of this edition of the blog. We're in the midst of home renovation chaos and I had to rebel and give myself a bit of relaxation. And your blog, as always, offers wondrous respite from the madness of a busy day.

    The joy of exploration is as much at the core of your journey through life as is the love of beauty, Anitra. Let us take pity on poor John Doe-- he's one of the fools who will never know what it feels like to sit on the edge of a hill at sunrise or to see the wind shape the waves in the ocean. He knows coyotes only as noise making canines. He thinks that he can own paradise. But we know differently-- and so did old Hal. Islands can become iguanas if the eye knows how to see-- a truth John Doe ain't never gonna see.

    A most Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    1. Ah, Dear Louis,

      Your welcome comments are always a treat. That John Doe will never notice how the wind shapes the waves is an image from the fluid mind of LRN.

      I too have been involved. The holiday and quality time with family (as well as a few projects of my own) have been trumping my Online presence.

      We all need balance, don't we. And home renovation ultimately will deliver that, but in the meantime (and especially during the holidays) you have your hands full.

      Wishing you deleas in the dez, and a heartwarming holiday season.

      My fond regards to you and your family, ~ Aneet

  7. Hello Aneet and greetings from New York!

    Just wanted to wish you and your family a joyous holiday and a prosperous new year........May 2015 bring everything great your way!

    Jonathan :)

    1. Jonathan,

      What a lovely surprise. Thank you for you cheerful holiday wishes.

      I hope and trust that you and your family (both two-legged and feline) will be jolly and healthy through the holidays and all year long. And let me add prosperous too.

      So good to hear from you :)

      My fond wishes, ~ Aneet

  8. Anitra
    Happy Holidays to you. Your words as well as your pictures speak volumes. May 2015 bring you all u wish & hope for. I am taking another media break. So I will continue to check your blog from time to time....from beautiful Oregon I say Cheers!

    1. Hey Riche,

      Cheers to you as well. I find you inspiring, in that you remove yourself from the media magnetism, and I assume carry on with real life. Yay!

      As you know, I've been on a leave of absence myself (though not very clearly defined.) After many years now of publishing Online, I'm finding that one needs to stand back and look in other directions to keep the creativity alive.

      I so appreciated your letting me know about your break Riche. I'm all for it. May you also have a sparkling New Year: one that delivers good health, prosperity and happiness.

      Sincerely, ~ Anitra