Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a bit more on Milwaukee

I could fill page after page with images of Milwaukee and continue to shine light on its beauty. I could reveal Milwaukee's textures in winter, spring, summer and fall. But what you wouldn't see are its people: their intelligence and warmth.

And as I post these photos: a scarlet cardinal brightening the winter landscape, Milwaukee's art museum designed by Santiago Calatrava, and a bunch of bushes that look to me like cupcakes, I'm thinking, Santa Barbara grows oranges the size of grapefruits; Milwaukee raises people with large and generous hearts.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

remembering Milwaukee

This morning as I think about Santa Barbara: its sunshine and recent spate of 70 degree weather, I stop myself and bite my tongue. The reason is, I've been to Milwaukee, spent time there trying to toughen my soft, Santa Barbara skin. And over a period of two years, I saw fresh snow dust pines with powder and create scenes of visual splendor that would have made Walt Disney swoon.

Santa Barbara's beauty is no secret, but when it comes to majesty, we don't corner the market.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

And oh, the skimmers....

They're back! The black skimmers.

I first spotted them four years ago in winter gathered on the sand beside a large flock of gulls. All pointing toward the water of our south-facing shore, they stood perfectly aligned, like soldiers in military formation.

The orange ring around their black beaks, and their bright orange legs and feet were striking, and what popped into my mind was, "Puffins!" Stunning as they were and parrot-like too, they lacked the exaggerated faces of puffins.

They barked a small sound, something between a peep and a squawk. And when a galloping beagle came charging up the coast, they all lifted off at once. And my eyes must have doubled in size, when their long, razor-like wings whooshed into the air to form criss-crossing patterns of vees.

I think I could spend entire days watching skimmers fly. The graceful angles of their black and white bodies (black backs/white undersides) flipping from positive to negative as they arc, veer, twist and dive.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

not readily seen

When I first started this blog, it was an experiment. Just a toe in the water test of what it might be like to actually have a blog. I thought I'd keep the subject matter fairly neutral and then, if and when the time was right, I'd crank up the focus to something more timely and personal.

What I've found in the past 6 months, is that the focus of my blog tends to automatically go toward beauty and peace. It wasn't my purpose. It just seems to be my drift.

But lately, as I trudge across the Santa Barbara beach, catching pelicans and black skimmers with my lens; and as I follow the graceful curves of the shoreline and the foam crested waves, I'm tempted to show something else, some of the other sights in view. Like the crumpled blanket on the sand where a homeless man sleeps, or the small tent 100 yards beyond it, that shelters another.

In this world that is torn in so many ways, I question if it's fair, in beautiful Santa Barbara, to bypass these visual truths. And I think, sometimes, it's important to let certain images slip through

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Lizard of the Year"

For a change of pace and a slight departure from Santa Barbara's bountiful aesthetics, at this time, I'd like to announce that Hugo Ernest Scuttlebutt has been awarded the prestigious title of "Fence Lizard of the Year." The annual honor is voted on and presented by the Laurel Lane Homeowners' Association.

As you can see from the photo above, Mr. Scuttlebutt is well fed and stands tall and proud. Due to his affable personality and sporting pursuit of meal worms, Hugo was a popular contender from early on.

He's hibernating now and won't be taking calls or holding interviews until mid April, or, perhaps, May. We all look forward to seeing him then, when, on sunny days, as his schedule permits, Hugo will once again be appearing on the rock wall in the garden between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily.

Congratulations Huey! An honor well deserved.