Santa Barbara Stint

Santa Barbara Stint

A Story by barleygirl
"

when I was about twenty . . .

"

I explored the Santa Barbara mountains early in my stint. Hidden behind the front range, winding deep into sage-scented folds and buckwheat-lined ravines, the Santa Ynez River is a large meandering creek in a vast arroyo with pools gathering every half mile or so. From Friday until Sunday there was a constantly migrating presence of naked and semi-clothed revelers, young and old, between one of these refreshing pools and the popular Cold Spring Tavern, which featured live local bands and fresh barbeque, located down the road a piece. Off-the-beaten-path partying could be sniffed out by the inquisitive.

After checking the hot spots, taking a few dips and mingling with locals, I try to remember how to find this hippie commune, home of cousin Penny. It didn’t take long to get my bearings and soon I was tooling down a narrow dirt road with plentiful crags and pinnacles jutting up from the chaparral. Last time here, Penny had taken me on an informative hike to check out the widespread cliff art done by local Chumash tribes. That’s why wind-sculpted sandstone cliffs tipped me off and helped me recognize the way to her place this time.

Penny leaped with joy to see anyone drive up and especially so when she saw it was me. In a cast-iron cauldron, she was simmering an all-day spaghetti sauce over the open firepit and I caught a whiff of fresh bay emanating from her shady arbor. Ever since wolfing Penny’s spaghetti that evening, I’ve been a fan of using at least ten fresh bay leaves in my own spaghetti sauce. Nowadays I walk down to the creek to snip a twig of bay leaves before starting any soup or sauce.

Penny, being eclectic in her musical tastes, turned me on to Latin American pan flutes wafting through fluttering leaves at her balmy impromptu gathering. The central meeting area featured a massive sandstone outcrop nearly level across like a tabletop. A growing group of ladies danced barefoot to pan flutes atop the smooth gritty surface, swirling our gossamer skirts and shaking bare breasts, waiting for the sauce to boil suitably. Penny was a stickler! The best sauces must be bubbled for hours! A few more bong hits and time didn’t mean anything anymore anyhow. Let’s spend the night! Sleeping rolls of the nomadic were thrown here and there carelessly, so anyone could grab what was needed.

Any day was a perfect day to cruise down Ventura Highway. Everyone new to Santa Barbara is lured by the big-city folly of Los Angeles in time. My favorite part is cruising along pure white sands in the vicinity of Ventura, where the highway runs right against the sea. It’s hard to think about traffic when distracted by waves so close it seemed as if we could dip our fingertips, mesmerized by foamy traces and swelling waves. Every so often a big wave pops up and cascades across the pavement in front of my speeding car and we felt that momentary rush of cool mist through open car windows gulping in the warm sea breeze.

These were the mystical moments when we felt those alligator lizards in the air. The free wind was blowing through my hair and days surround the sea froth there. I will have to go, I know. It’s just the way it always goes. Meantime, summer sunsets bounce along forever, watercolor swishing the coastline in soft swirls of hot pink and cotton candy all around. Seabirds would dip and glide, trying to snap up a little flapper. There was nothin’ in the world like toolin’ along beside the sparkly Pacific rim, “Ventura Highway” blasting from cheap speakers on a queer day savoring America.

© 2021 barleygirl


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Featured Review

A splendid reflection upon time, people and places that all moved in a free and pleasant motion. Only a person who is free from the expectations of others can have this clarity of memory for this extensive detail. Another facet of the true gem that you are.
Reading this was a most welcome respite from my (our) own self-induced stress. Thank you for this wonderful piece!


Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Watercress

1 Month Ago

I can see why those who follow you want to pull from both ends of your writing spectrum
Your .. read more
barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Being delightfully free from bounds is one thing about my life that has come naturally. I'm like a w.. read more
Watercress

1 Month Ago

What an amazing woman and poet both! That reply could have not been more perfect. Less than one in.. read more



Reviews

My initial plan, in 2020, was to travel in February or March... but Covid happened. And I had to fold my dream like a little note and tuck it in my the pocket of my jeans. This short story was told with such pure affection and longing for a fragment of time and place and it easily teleports the reader with you to those cherished memories. I have never visited the spot before, so I had to look up images of Santa Barbara and Ventura Highway to help me visualize as I wandered with you between the mountains and along the salt-water licked beach.

Cold Spring Tavern is such a cozy dream to be honest...
The aroma of Penny's bay leaf spaghetti sauce found its way to my nostrils.
The marriage of the cool mist and the warm sea breeze, I could feel it stroke my face and hair...
The magic in all the summer sunsets held my breath.

"I will have to go, I know. It’s just the way it always goes. Meantime, summer sunsets bounce along forever, watercolor swishing the coastline in soft swirls of hot pink and cotton candy all around."

The complex emotion of loving every passing moment but feeling sad about having to leave eventually is a raw human emotion that anchors the heart with the realization that there is preciousness in the brevity of our lives. There is value and weight to our lives because they are brief...

Thank you for taking me on this beautiful trip. I honestly needed it.

I love your stories.
~Aysha.



Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

You caught a million things that I didn't even see in my story. Being a rolling stone, I was always .. read more
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Sounds like a great adventure was enjoyed in your carefree days of youth. It must have been wonderful to just drop everything and cruise the highway and see where it took you. Without having any significant knowledge of Santa Barbara, your vivid descriptions gave me a mental picture of what one could expect if they took the same journey. I have read some books about hiking on the Pacific Trail and your tale made me think of those. It all sounds wonderful and liberating. Thanx for taking me there! :))

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for taking the time to soak in some of my memories, back when times were more free & easy... read more
Such a place and time! Being one who lived it, you reveal that idyllic scene with authority and splash. (Like no other I have known) Traveling hwy's ! and 101 in the 80's, I never saw a wave come upon the road, but perhaps there'd been some construction done. Sailor Sam's eyes would've looked like those of a goggle-eye perch when gawking at those bouncing boobies.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Taking a bit of poetic license on those road splashes. There's a frontage road that's closer to the .. read more
I could see and almost feel myself beside you. Enjoying the hike through the rough terrain. Having the feel of the wind in my face as we speed down the highway. I know I would relish the windswept water from the waves crashing so close to the roadway. You make me wish to joint you on a jaunt down that highway myself.
Take care of yourself - Dave

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Well crap! When I open a new msg, as soon as I put your name on it, my Norton app blocks it with the.. read more
Dave

1 Month Ago

Gee, I love a nice roaring fire. I could just snuggle with you. W haven't used our fireplace in y.. read more
barleygirl

1 Month Ago

The woodstove is my only heat here.
A splendid reflection upon time, people and places that all moved in a free and pleasant motion. Only a person who is free from the expectations of others can have this clarity of memory for this extensive detail. Another facet of the true gem that you are.
Reading this was a most welcome respite from my (our) own self-induced stress. Thank you for this wonderful piece!


Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Watercress

1 Month Ago

I can see why those who follow you want to pull from both ends of your writing spectrum
Your .. read more
barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Being delightfully free from bounds is one thing about my life that has come naturally. I'm like a w.. read more
Watercress

1 Month Ago

What an amazing woman and poet both! That reply could have not been more perfect. Less than one in.. read more
Must have been great times with America's Ventura Highway song and even the Eagles plus with the coastline, the waves, being young, and the culture of those times. Nice write Margie.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I did manage to see the bands "America" and "Eagles" back when you could see them in a small venue &.. read more
ah to be young again
love all the Spanish sounding lingo
the only arroyos around here are the ones i drop into the occasional cowboy poem
vaya con dios Senora

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for reminding me about all the lovely Spanish sounding lingo. It's more & more prevalent, .. read more

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Added on January 23, 2021
Last Updated on January 23, 2021

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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