Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
A few weeks ago I drove up the coast to the Coal Oil Point Reserve, a sublime area, lush with sea life and birds, on the edge of the UCSB campus. The reason for the trip was to meet a dear friend—a spiritual companion, a guide, a mentor, though she is 15 years my junior.
Part of the University of California Natural Reserve System, and one of the premiere coastal-strand environments in Southern California, the area comprises a mixture of dune vegetation and rare wildlife. The protection of these natural habitats aims to support research, education, outreach, and stewardship.
My friend and I stood on the bluffs overlooking the water and marveled at the ocean, the incoming waves so smooth their surface had the sheen of syrup. We took our picnic lunch down by the pond (technically Devereux Slough, a seasonally flooded tidal lagoon), spread out a blanket and feasted.
A snowy egret, perched on slender branch, fixed us with an impassive stare. We spotted a Black-Bellied Plover and a Northern Flicker. The Reserve is part of Audubon’s Important Bird Area (IBA), and boasts, among other species, pelicans loons, teal, osprey, larks, grebes.
But mostly we talked: about our families, our hearts, the state of the world. A good spiritual companion doesn’t invite you to condemn the world. A good spiritual companion makes your heart burn within you to offer yourself to the world, in whatever way has been given.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.