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Unexpected moments of grace on the road

My brief tourist buzz through Santa Barbara on my birthday was surprisingly pleasant and had some wonderful moments.

These stand out:

The mission looked like one of its well-distributed postcards with the roses in the foreground because just about every rose in the park below it was blooming. Ahhhh.

There was a hummingbird feeding on the flowers around the statue of F. Serra in front of the Mission gift shop.

I got over my grumps at having to pay to enter God's house (because of the hummingbird) and gave the nice ladies my $4 for the tour when I bought my book and postcards. This was well worth it for the historical exhibits they have set up, in a way to keep the tourists from interfering with the daily life of the mission (which is a parish church AND has a resident community of brothers). I gasped when I got into the walled garden, which was in its full Summer-in-Santa-Barbara glory. I'm a big fan of the cloister garden (I have been to the Cloisters in NYC all three times I was there) and it was glorious to see a semi-tropical version of it. Translation into Californian, sort of thing.

And when I tiptoed into the church, the monks were chanting office in the back. Lovely.

I was pleased to drive by the church that featured in Nora Gallagher's book, "Things Seen and Unseen", on my buzz down State Street.

And there are brown pelicans living on the beach! I love watching them at the Lake Merritt bird sanctuary (they are endangered) and it was truly wonderful to see them in SB.