Living in three different parts of this country has been a life luxury. Visiting all fifty states has been an education, like getting a Ph.D. in U.S. Travel. My latest trip, to Santa Barbara, California, with my new love, merged a few of my life’s geographic attachments.
Living in Tucson for eighteen years opened the door to a blossoming March. Yes, I miss that. Santa Barbara — with its similar climate and Spanish influence — brought me back to the Southwest.
Wisteria, purple plumes atop an artsy entangled tree stump, thrilled me. Close to lilacs in their glorious color, their fragrance is less intoxicating. But wisteria, just hanging there, are more luxurious in their celebration of spring.
Life returning sprouted the joy of bees buzzing on Mt. Desert Island, which annually surprised me, following ruthless winter gale-force winds stirring the ocean into frothy waves, ice storms knocking out power lines, and snow piled to the top of my garage.
And that’s where I am now, emotionally and physically. I never expected to live in Arctic Minneapolis, here in the Midwest. So when Marc suggested a respite: Santa Barbara hiking, wine-tasting, and attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, I jumped in.
Nor did I expect to fall in love with the Pacific Ocean. I referred to it as “the other ocean” in my slightly OCDish way. But there I was, lounging on my rock couch, gazing at and listening to waves rolling over ancient rocks. Reading or writing fell away. Hours at the ocean’s edge felt sacred.
I recalled my friend Martha’s father, in his late 90s, sitting in her car at Seawall watching Atlantic waves roll onto the shore. A favorite activity of his. I empathized.
In sunny Santa Barbara, the Pacific finally seemed friendlier. Gazing at the Channel Islands helped, especially after our visit to the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen (sorry MDI!). Santa Cruz Island, an hour’s boat ride from nearby Ventura, enchanted me.
“I love this so much,” I repeated on a six-mile hike with Marc, who appreciated my happiness.
I pictured Earth’s curvature in this photo I took there:
Here we were in this exquisite primitive place. For me a place of exultation. Wishing that all humans could have the same opportunity to visit such a magnificent place.