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