Sunrise sprint to Santa Barbara!
I’m timing it tomorrow morning to drive from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara so that I emerge from Gaviota Pass at sunrise. Imagine coming out of Shelob’s lair at 75mph to be greeted with a brilliant California sunrise. I’m speechless every time.
And then I’ll need breakfast. Anyone know of a good place to get breakfast in SB? So far I’ve been to The French Press, and I’ve been told that Our Daily Bread is another great spot.
Every Thursday night, weather permitting, a farmers’ market is held in downtown San Luis Obispo. I try to go as often as I have the opportunity, and just as often as I don’t. There is something about the character of this small town that shines through the assembled crowd congregated on five blocks of Higuera Street. Even on this cold November night, there is a warmth radiating between family, friends, and fellow members of this tight knit community. There is also a lively chaos as growers, merchants, artists, community activists, and tradesmen barter, sell, and trade among each other. It’s electric.
I carry my camera in an attempt to capture the collective energy. And yet, it is as futile as holding fireflies in a jar. The containment suffocates the life out of the photographs. Instead, tonight, I left the camera at my side. My eye I let wander, and basked in the humanity. As I looked deeply into the faces of the people I passed, I reflected. They were all uniquely and unequivocally human. All different, and all the same; two eyes, a nose, two ears, and a smile.
Farmers’ Market drawing to an end, I found myself escaping the noise and the masses, ducking into a tiny cafe. Again, I feel the glow of joy filled hearts, and am washed by the sounds of lively instruments and laughter. In from the cold, I can warm my chilled hands with a steaming cup of chai, and thaw a body once numb to social levity. The musicians in the back room, with a dancing tune flowing from their dancing hands, are a collection of friends known only to each other by the sounds of their instruments.
“Like a mandola is compared to a mandolin, and a viola to a violin, so everything works on the theory of relativity.” Not simply musicians, these people are philosophers. “While only a moment, a hand placed on a hot stove seems to burn for significantly longer; and a lengthy passionate kiss passes in the blink of an eye.” I sip my chai, wishing it had boba in it, but thoroughly content.
Shortly before closing, a man walks in to join the dwindling audience. He taps his foot and cane in time with the music, and does not appear to have a care in the world. And yet, as I look in his face, I have difficulty seeing the world through his eyes; for this man is blind. His name is Peter; and while he cannot read their music, he apparently joins them regularly. From the piano, he would jam with chords known best by an experienced ear. They welcome him with open arms - they don’t need to understand him, for through his contributions, they know him.
To me, this is San Luis. We are a community that does not exclude people for their limitations; rather, whether it be produce, balloon animals, tri tip steaks, or an electric cello, we embrace those who offer their best.