From our esteemed colleague of a correspondent in Santa Barbara, Ashleigh Brilliant:
July 13, 2013
It doesn’t happen often that something pleasantly new appears in my life, which has actually been there all the time. The stone bench shown below is here in Santa Barbara, facing a busy intersection at the corner of Mission and Garden Streets, not far from where I live. I don’t know how old it is, or anything of its history. (Santa Barbara is full of interesting old stone-work, including a surprising number of curb-side hitching-posts, many with their metal rings still attached, though they’ve been unused by horses, or by anyone else, for many years.)
What I do know is that, until recently, and all the time I have been living here, this charming and convenient structure was practically unusable, and virtually invisible, because it had become overgrown with thick shrubbery emanating from the garden behind it.
Not long ago, however, that property changed hands, and in the selling process some heavy pruning, trimming, and clearing was done — with the result that the Old Stone Bench, perhaps for the first time in living memory, became clearly revealed and accessible, as you see it now. I don’t know how many people in town have even noticed this change. But to me it’s a very dramatic and welcome one, because the bench happens to be directly on my walking route between home and office (a distance of almost exactly a mile) and a very good place to rest, especially when I am struggling home on foot with a load of groceries.
And now that I can sit there, I have been noticing that this bench provides views in several directions, not only of palm-lined streets, and distant mountains, but also of two remarkable works of art, standing outside houses on different corners of that same intersection.
Across one street from the bench is this locally-famous statue of a large dog, about which many stories are told (most of them probably untrue.)
And on the diagonally opposite corner to the dog is this boulder decorated by our eminent Santa Barbara mosaicist, Dan Chrynko, whose colorful and highly imaginative works can be seen all over town:
And just for the sake of completeness, on the 4th corner (diagonally opposite to the Bench) stands a strange monolith whose story and purpose I can tell you nothing at all about. It appears to contain no holes, no inscription, and no identifying marks of any kind:
I originally intended to write you only about the stone bench — but you can see how one thing leads to another.
All the best,
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