Thursday, January 11, 2018
My Ex is from Santa Barbara, and her father still lived there while we were together. We'd go there every year at Christmas time. (Which was good, it got me out of Christmas, she's Jewish). Montecito is a neighboring town, really part of what you might call Greater Santa Barbara.
The area is - or was I should say - really paradisaical. The climate is said to be the most equable anywhere. Or again, it was. In late December it was balmy, with people playing beach volleyball and dining out of doors, rosy sunsets over the ocean and most years, little rain. (Every so often a stormy pattern would set up, but that didn't happen when I was there.) In the summer, it didn't get too hot because the ocean was cold due to the Humboldt current. The architecture is beautiful and the town is full of great things to do - excellent restaurants, museums and historical sites, a fabulous botanical garden, a bird sanctuary. The mountains loom behind and you could hike through spectacular scenery.
In fact my girlfriend's father was president of the local Sierra Club and he had written a guide to local trails. We'd go hiking at least once every year and there were always fascinating discoveries -- an abandoned olive ranch, the monarch butterfly grove (the location is not publicized), other wonders.
The city of Santa Barbara itself was threatened by a wildfire a few years ago, but it didn't make it down to the coast. This year, as you know, the largest wildfire in recorded California history roared through Santa Barbara County and destroyed a good part of it. It spared the city but did major damage in Montecito. And now following a rainstorm that fell on the burned out mountainsides, more of the town has been destroyed by mudslides. The images are apocalyptic, almost impossible to take in. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and untold numbers of people are dead. The major coastal highway is closed and will be for many days. People are still trapped without food, water or utilities.
The climate there is no longer so equable. There have been bouts of extreme heat, alternating drought and storminess, howling wind. And that's why Montecito has slid toward the ocean. But of course this has nothing to do with human activity. Just ask a Republican.