31 Days of Paying Attention — Day Twenty-Two


Late last summer, my husband and I took a walk at one of our favorite spots — Coal Oil Point, on the campus of UCSB way out in Goleta. Actually that neighboring town is only about a ten mile drive from our home, but I may have adopted the attitude of so many Santa Barbara folk, an attitude that I detested when I first moved here. There is this pervasive air of complaint about getting in the car and going anywhere other than here. Somehow, driving to Goleta is like heading out to the boonies! You know, I lived in the San Gabriel Valley for almost thirty years and thought nothing of driving ten miles or more to visit a favorite store or restaurant. But here? Somehow, the distances are more bothersome. I’m workin’ on that one!

This spot is high on the bluffs, with gravel pathways for foot traffic and bicycles, pathways that lead to an isolated surfing beach with a stunning view. I’ve used pictures from this place before. In fact, they were the primary illustrations for the first e-book I published called, “Living the Questions.” That small book grew out of a blog series I did several years ago and used a surfing analogy to get us into the topic.

But this particular shot was taken from a different location than most of my previous ones. In fact, I had to look at it for a while in order to correctly identify where it was taken. Almost all of the beaches that I photograph are distinct and I can tell immediately which one I’m looking at. But this picture showed me a little bit different slice of the beauty out there at Coal Oil Point.

We can become so accustomed to the usual, to the expected. Changing the parameters of that viewfinder can reveal all kinds of thing, don’t you think? Where are you focussed right now? Is there something in  your field of vision that is consuming you these days? Do you need to switch it up for a few minutes, turn that focus slightly to the left or right and look at things with a fresh eye?

This whole idea of changing perspective, angle, viewfinder seems to be a recurring theme in this series. Maybe it’s really, really important.


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  1. “This whole idea of changing perspective, angle, viewfinder seems to be a recurring theme in this series. Maybe it’s really, really important.”

    Truth for me, Diana. I’ve gotten in quite a thinking rut. It is not healthy or helpful.

  2. Yes, Diana, I agree that we should be willing to change our perspective when looking at things. I had a great opportunity to do so this past week when we were in the mountains.

  3. Margie Bicknell says

    My neighborhood is changing. From lot sizes of 1/2 an acre – 2 acres per house, they have been sold and filled with 4-6 houses per acre. I have lamented the downing of trees, and the noise filling our previously quiet neighborhood. What I have also internalized is….’things gonna change’, whether I like it or not. So I stopped lamenting, and noticed the change in sunlight patterns on my lawn through the thinned trees, the deer that stop by and eat my plants more often, and the rather large bobcat walking across my driveway.
    Perspective can be finding a new adventure.