The Beauty Will Still Be Here

Entrance to a ranch on Gobernador Canyon Road in Carpinteria, California. A quiet ride is just what I needed.

Quiet moments are worth their weight in gold right now. Those chances to turn off the cacophony of our current predicament.and simply relax and realize that there still is much beauty and peace to be found, and that this beauty and peace is not going away despite the grim tragedy that surrounds us.

Yesterday was a day when I needed peace and beauty. I don’t think I consciously realized it until I left our place on my bike. I didn’t have a destination in mind, but as I rode the first few blocks, I decided to find a quiet route. Ride easy. Take in the beauty.

I headed to the ocean.

The flowers on the bike path connecting Santa Barbara and Butterfly Beach in Montecito. The colors and the scents were spectacular.

The hill over to Butterfly Beach in Montecito passes through one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Right now, everything is blooming and the vibrant colors and floral scents are truly stunning. There is a crew that meticulously maintains this garden, and they always graciously accept my thanks as I am passing through.

Working my way through Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria deposited me on the Rincon Bike Trail. The trail parallels the 101 and runs as a dedicated bike trail just above the beach from Carpinteria at Bates Road/Rincon Point on the north to Pier Shoals Public Beach on the south. (After Pier Shoals, the route continues all the way to Ventura, though not as a dedicated bike path again until approaching Ventura.)

An onshore breeze meant the surfers were busy at Rincon Point, a premier surf break in the area. I pedaled easy, scouting for dolphins among the kelp beds.

An onshore breeze brought breakers to shore. I sat and listened and watched for longer than I normally do.

At Pier Shoals, I leaned my bike against the lone palm tree and sat on some rocks facing the Pacific. There was no one around. The waves rolled in. Sure, there are recordings of waves that folks use to fall asleep or to calm themselves, but nothing beats the real thing.

I sat there longer than I usually do, thinking about our girls back home. We haven’t seen them since late January. I miss them so much. At the same time, I feel so lucky to have been here throughout the pandemic. The ability to do the thing I love nearly every day amid such spectacular beauty… I am not taking it for granted.

On the way back, I headed up the Bates Road climb at Rincon Point, but instead of turning left onto Highway 150 and retracing my route through Carpinteria like I usually do, I turned right and headed for Gobernador Canyon Road.

The bucolic splendor of Gobernador Canyon Road. Ranches and avocado orchards and no traffic.

The road winds its way through ranches and avocado orchards with a moderate ascent and descent. Much of the route is in shade making it a good choice on a hot day.

All along the road, the upslope is, literally, a wall of nasturium.

At this time of year, the upslope side of the road is lined with a wall of nasturium. There is very little traffic and the views are pastoral. All I heard were birds and the occasional horse neigh or snort.

I didn’t go hard. I just wanted to take it all in. A quiet day. A calm day. A chance to breathe.

The moon rises over the mountains on the beach in Montecito. A day to remember that this will pass.

In the evening, we met my sister and brother-in-law and friends at the beach for a socially-distanced supper. Pelicans were diving into the sea to retrieve their own dinner. The moon was rising over the mountains. A calm came over me.

This will all still be here when the virus has passed.

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