October 28, 2010

Here, Then, and Gone.


in Santa Barbara, I visit the Historical MuseumInside, it is cool and dark.  The main gallery features changing exhibitions.  I walk through the museum the courtyard and gardens.  It is quiet on weekdays and I enjoy the place all to myself.  Most of all, I love to visit the Gledhill Library.  The library is a repository of Santa Barbara's most important historical documents, photos, maps, publications, newspapers, articles, and other relics.  The collections tell the story of Santa Barbara County.  

I forged friendships that lasted decades. 

The men of the group were part of the annual rancheros trek.  Men only, which left the the women footloose and fancy free. 

It was a grand opportunity for me to collect some marvelous inside stories about “old” Santa Barbara and the Rancheros Visitadores. 

Co-founder J.J. Mitchell, ending his 25 years as El Presidente, wrote:
 "All the pledges and secret oaths in the universe cannot tie men, our kind of men, together like the mutual appreciation of a beautiful horse, the moon behind a cloud, a song around the campfire or a ride down the Santa Ynez Valley. These are experiences common on our ride, but unknown to most of our daily lives."
"Our organization, to all appearances, is the most informal imaginable. Yet there are men here who see one another once a year, yet feel a bond closer than between those they have known all their lives."


are most of the friends. It is the perfect time of year to remember, and the Santa Barbara Cemetery is the perfect place.  The cemetery began as a simple, sparse plot.  Today it is one of the nation's most beautiful cemeteries.   The land is perched atop a tall hill bounded on the south by the Pacific Ocean.  You can watch pelicans, seagulls and other shore birds, and listen to the bark of sea lions that lie on a barge just off shore, sunbathing.

To the north is a breathtaking vista of the lagoon, bird refuge, and the tall, blue Santa Ynez Mountains.
There are grand old oak trees and you hear a soft steady river of sound traveling up the hillside from the 101 freeway.

The cemetery offers a place for an afternoon of contemplation, philosophical meanderings, and metaphysical meditations.

All around are grand, dramatic vistas, immaculate lawns, and wide trees that spread their shade. It is an elegant, beautiful place to wander.

The excursion is an opportunity to reflect, that like all the others who came before us, we are here for such a short time, and then we are gone.
Or not?

During the season of Halloween, we imagine that the veils between the worlds are thinning.  We hear stories of ghosts and hauntings, of spooky, unexplainable things seen and unseen. 

1 comment:

Tom said...

Ah, you have strayed into my neighborhood. Always wanted to find out what REALLY went on in that camp. Time for a nice long lunch? Please, you know how good gossip stimulates my little grey cells.