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The timeless quality of Santa Barbara, California

There is something wonderfully timeless about living in Santa Barbara. There's really no sense of the passage of time because of the wonderful marine layer that keeps the shadows soft all day. The days always start very soft, and the fog "burns off" at about 10, but the sunlight isn't harsh. I would often look out and wonder if it was 11 am or 3 pm. It was just daytime.

And the seasons never seem to change in Santa Barbara. Not really. Not like the seasons I grew up with in Minnesota, where it's mosquito season, then it snows. It's always nice in Santa Barbara. I would forget if it was February or September. It all felt the same.

Even the postcards that I used to buy when I lived there in the 1980s were of images from the 1950s and 60s. No one seemed to notice, or mind. The first time I grabbed a couple of postcards to send to friends I didn't even notice how old the images were, I just mailed them off.

But the timeless quality of Santa Barbara worried me. I was in my mid-twenties when I lived there, and I could picture just hanging around there for the rest of my life. I remember the old surfer dudes with the grey hair who were doing the same things that they did thirty years before. And I didn't want that.

Los Angeles was only an hour away. And at age 28 I decided to just move back there, and get a real job in the big city. The culture shock was awful. Don't let anyone tell you that Los Angeles has ever been "laid back". Not like Santa Barbara!

Leaving Santa Barbara was very painful for me, but I knew that it had to be done. She was beautiful, more beautiful than spoken words can tell.

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