Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ruing, Rowing and Flowing

Right now I want to rue, rue the fact that everything is passing. The pink light from the sunrise casting its pastel color onto my writing page is measured. Each day is like those grains of sand in the hourglass, spilling. Now I have a new perspective of the hourglass, so different from those days in the past -- days when I was outer-driven, always reaching, always striving, always hoping to attain my ever-present goals.

With those days of racing behind me, my pace has changed, and my focus has gone inward, not in the sense of navel gazing, but of savoring moments, of being in  my body instead of casting it about. And as I stop and look around me at patterns of sunlight illuminating the French doors to my deck, I see one shaped like a butterfly. And in the distance, a small crimson heart glows mid air, suspended in the leaves of the pepper tree. And I wonder how could that be -- a heart suspended in space -- what is that? And then, I see it's part of a stained glass strand dangling from the eaves of my deck and glinting in the slant light. And I realize, I am holding this journal to my chest, feeling the smooth tooth of its paper under the pads of my fingers and being with this day as it it were a person; as if it were a dear relative who I love.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer A

Let Me Play

Let me live in joy and wonder.
Allow me to let go of constraints
and mental constructs of how things ought to be.
Let me release my automatic knee-jerk reactions
and open to a world of infinite possibility.
Let me find that thread of agelessness
and timelessness that resides in all of us.
Let me savor, let me celebrate
this gift of days.

***Hello beautiful people. Once again, I have made two posts. Please check out Summer B

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.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today, my mermories are a drumbeat

Pacing the hills, ocean in view, scent of summer in the air.

Coppertone suntan lotion wafting on breeze, impossible way up here so far from everyone. Must be a memory drifting in from my youth. Summers spent at the beach on the California coast. A high school thespian, performing plays and modern dance. Dreaming of modeling and acting. Pulsing with adolescent vitality. A fireball.

Not knowing how to get where I had to go, only that "no" could never be an option.

Loving the precious last days of youth -- the safety of high school, the freedom to be silly. And yet, waiting . . . breathless for that moment when I would fly from my secure cage and follow every wing-flap due north. The magnet of Hollywood pulling . . . calling . . ..


** There is more, a long string of Santa Barbara images. See second post below

Ordinary Day

The scent of summer
lifting from the still moist soil of spring
Santa Barbara blooming, glistening.
Every day the interplay of fog and sun.


How delightful it is to be back here in this welcoming arena -- this forum of friends 
-- the open channel where I take the images that have greeted me over the past two months, strain them through the filter of my perception, fashion them 
into form . . . and deliver them to you. 

 With gratitude, I welcome you into my blue world by the sea. This month, I have made two posts, both prompted by the phrase, "the scent of summer." They are fairly free-form, from the white Matilija poppy, to cactus flowers blooming in my garden, to a bucked-tooth gopher (in need of a good dental hygienist), who was plump, large and completely indifferent to my presence. Even when I stood in front of him and spoke, he looked at me, but didn't flinch, just continued 
with his plight of digging and gnawing.

The Princess Cruise Line that has been showing up from time to time in our harbor: a stunning sight, surprising in its breadth; cedar waxwings clustered on bare branches; a hooded oriole; an artist capturing the slough in oils and even a white cat staring through her green window are a few of my offerings today.  What's missing is the birdsong, which you will have to imagine, or perhaps you could go for a walk in your own neighborhood and hear some similar music.

On another note, my work continues and is going well. Posting every two months now, feels just right. It's wonderful to see you :) I will return on the 15th of July.

Bountiful wishes and happy summer solstice my valued readers and friends,  ~    Anitra