Happily, we've not only put it all back together but done some cleaning and organizing chores we'd been putting off for years - and we seem to still be going. We've hosted several visitors and more are headed our way. In between, we've been taking drives including one along El Camino Cielo from Montecito to Hwy. 154 - one of our favorite perspectives on home because you get spectacular views in every direction.
We even took a short local flight just before Thanksgiving, landing at Santa Ynez and Santa Paula. It felt like "home" in a strange way, to climb into Flash and take off with only a general idea of where we'd go. We saw familiar territory with fresh eyes, and discovered things like this barn that's obviously many years old.
How then had neither of us ever noticed it after descending low over it for hundreds of landings at the Santa Ynez airport perhaps a quarter-mile away?
Taking off again we noticed a bridge or dam across the river flying from this familiar airport past the familiar Lake Cachuma.
Continuing up the valley, at Gibraltar Lake we noticed for the first time that there are small trees growing from that dam's concrete shoulder.
By the time we approached SBA at sunset, it felt as though we'd been gone several weeks again. Familiar places within a mile or two of home looked different, like peaceful Laguna Blanca in Hope Ranch where the shadows of night settled beneath us.
As the start of 2010 approaches, we have refreshed yet again our sense that "there's no place like home."