The Ennisbrook Preserve in Montecito California is a small wooded park set aside in the 1980s by the local land trust as a tract to remain undeveloped within the community. Over the years it matured into a beautiful, mostly wild park surrounded by homes.
Coastal Live Oaks are indigenous to the area and highly prized, so much so that it is illegal to remove one without city approval (which is rarely granted). A few trails, like the one pictured, pass through the grove of massive oaks and are a favorite of dogwalkers, hikers, and bikers.
I have made many trips there early in the morning just after sunrise when a mist would settle in among the trees and create ghostly scenes. On this particular morning the mist was present but there was enough light to produce a hazy pastel look that softened the otherwise untamed array of oak limbs, leaves, and wild grasses. I loved the painterly effect and took many photos, of which this was the best. It is bittersweet to look at this photo now, since not long after this image was taken there was a massive wildfire in the area (the Thomas fire).
Soon after, the infamous Montecito mudslides occurred that destroyed many homes, lives, and among other tragedies, devastated this Preserve. This scene no longer exists. Fortunately, through the work of many volunteers and nature's healing, the park has been restored to a pleasing version of what it used to be and the Coastal Oaks that survived once again line the trails.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor