Saturday, January 17, 2009

Where's Your Neighborhood?

I live in a small neighborhood. Nestled into the hills of Santa Barbara, the church and parsonage are sandwiched between walled estates and tightly packed homes. Some days I do not even leave the property, since I walk from the parsonage to the office and up the hill to Westmont if I need to meet a member on campus. It's very immediate. The photo below shows Cold Spring Road going North/South and the church steeple on the top of the picture and the Westmont campus lower right. I took these pictures on a walk yesterday with the owner of a large tract of land above our neighborhood. In fact it's the land where the fires began that burned so many homes in the fall. He invited me to join him and a local historian to tour the land that was developed around 1910 by a wealthy San Francisco Tea trader.

When we walked the mile, curving road to the top of what is called the Tea Garden (made by the first owner to have tea and view the ocean in comfort), that's when I saw the bigger picture below. The view is looking east, beyond Summerland, Caprinteria, Ventura....all the way to the tip of Oxnard and the air base there. That's my bigger neighborhood from 2,000 feet.
The challenge I have is to keep a high enough altitude in life to see the bigger picture and not get caught up in the trees and bushes on the ground. Of course we are not birds and we must navigate through the trees and bushes, lot lines and strip malls. Gravity holds us to the dirt and we are bound with others who walk/drive among us. This is the immediate neighborhood of the moment, of now. But it is not where I am bound nor where I must go. AT 2,000 feet (much less think of the views we get at 30,000 feet!!!) I can see where we can go, should go, might go.


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