Sunday, April 21, 2024

2024/4/21 Back to La Purisima for a Stroll

What a happy day. After 5 months off the trails waiting out rain and mud we FINALLY got to rustle up the gang and head to Mission La Purisima in Lompoc for a spring stroll.

Because the animals and humans were a bit out of shape we opted to just do a constitutional, walking the paved road and circumambulating the central field.

Even getting up at early morning cowgirl hours was a bit unusual, but after letting Tobe stand around in mud for months this was our big chance to get out and be in nature.

Not that he's unhappy in his paddock with a view, 

especially if he takes an opportunity to nibble a few psilocybin mushrooms from time to time.

Today's Equestrian MeetUp crew was Jamie with Mosca, Noe and Woody, Bunnie on Gretzky, and Pat on Tobe.

And we notice that the two horses on the left are naked.
Woody the white Unicorn has been foundering slightly, he's an elderly gentleman who cohabits with Mosca, the black racehorse on the right who just got out of the hospital and is under treatment for ulcers. So both of them definitely needed an easy day out in the open nature, but were not up for being ridden.

Bunnie and Pat were happy just to be out and about, so Gretzky and Tobe brought up the rear and the humans had a chance for a long chat.


 Most of the people who come to exercise at the Mission walk on this path, with dogs and kids in strollers and sometimes bicyclists. There is also an extensive trail system in the hills around that are also part of the property, but they are mostly deep sand and not where we wanted to go today.

This little boy will be talking about meeting Woody for weeks !

 So the morning fog burned off, and the smells of the sagebrush filled the air. Spring flowers are starting to appear, and walking along at the speed of an equine takes me out of the digital electronic world and back to another time.


In some parts of the walk we pass through ancient oaks, shady areas where ferns and flowers are growing beautifully after the rains of the last two years.

After spending months indoors and working under bright lights tattooing people THIS is what my eyes needed. The soft dappled play of light on leaves.

Stone lined drainage ditches line the roads, remnants of the time when this was a working California Mission with many residents growing food in these acres.

My ever-faithful trusty steed, enjoying the day as much as I was.

Except, for him it is a potential buffet lunch. Every so often I have to stop and sip some water and let him have a snack.

This tree must have gone over in this winter's storms, taking some of its neighbors with it. The canopy is thus opened up, and birds were flitting back and forth in the open area and new plants will be able to take hold.

Every so often there are benches for anyone walking on the property to sit and relax. It is a wonderful historic community resource.

But all good things and all good trails must lead to an end, so we looped back around to the staging area. Nice that the animals had a freshly mown grass area to let their hooves take a rest from the road.

Like they always say, if you get lost follow water downhill. So in this case that's the stone aqueducts so carefully made so many years ago.

You can come to a place like this and be angry about the conquest of California by the Spaniards, who changed forever the lives of the Chumash Indians who had lived here for thousands of years. Or you can focus on the plant life and the animals that call it home. You can think of it as a hospitable place for exercise and a respite from civilization. All the layers exist simultaneously and are a choice. 


"I discovered in Nature the non-utilitarian delights that I sought in Art. Both were a form of Magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception."     - Nabokov 1939

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###  by Pat Fish  ###