Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Zoo With a View

Mimi insisted on wearing my zebra scarf today.  She won't stop talking about Osa's zebra skin shoes, which I find a little ridiculous.  After all, Mimi doesn't even have feet!  She also insisted I go to the Santa Barbara Zoo to photograph zebras.  When I told her there weren't any zebras at the Santa Barbara Zoo, she got a little pissy.

"For crying out loud, go shoot lions and elephants and gorillas then.  You've been home for two weeks now.  Get off your butt.  Go see something!"

 Sometimes I listen to Mimi when I really shouldn't.  I hate zoos.  They depress me.  I want to see condors in the wild.  Gorillas in Uganda.  Giraffes on a Masai Reserve.  What am I doing here?  I go sit down on a bench.  I refuse to see the lions.  I don't care what Mimi says!

I start to calm down.  I look up and see the ocean.  A volley ball net is being set up.  What an incredible view.  And look at that stone lion?  Is that all that remains from the Child Estate?
A beautiful pink-stucco mansion used to sit up here.  It was surrounded by landscaped gardens and belonged to Lillian Child.  She was well-known among the social set in Santa Barbara.  In the early 1900's her parties were extravaganzas.  During the Great Depression, however, she allowed homeless men to build shacks on her property and these squatters soon formed a little shanty town.  The socialites were horrified.  They couldn't do much about it until her death in 1951.   She willed her estate to the Santa Barbara Foundation with a provision that the homeless men on her land would be provided for.  The mansion was razed and a zoo built.  The men were moved to nearby cottages.

This bronze fox caught my attention.  I started to notice other sculptures scattered throughout the park, so I took another walk around the loop.  This time I did not look at the animals.  I looked at the art.  My depression lifted.  Suddenly the little zoo with the incredible view didn't seem like such a bad place to be.


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