I am writing on behalf of the ongoing attempt to preserve and protect Rocky Nook Park.
My wife, Kathryn Marin, and I have lived directly behind the park for more than 50 years, on Mission Oaks Lane. We’ve raised two children here and have also, along the way, offered safe harbor to their classmates and peers and others in need of shelter.
The park is an essential part of the past in need of preservation by the county. It is like a window in time, a sort of wormhole in time, preserving a part of the environment (and that includes the plant and animal history of the county) that would vanish if meddled with.
It is a much used park by members of all ethnic and economic groups, allowing a rest from the present, a respite from the various crises confronting us, and one as available to the poorest of the poor as it is to the well-to-do.
As time passes, as things change, we need these spots to — well, let me get flowery — replenish our souls.
They offer us spaces in which to remember and reflect and to understand our own personal relations to change, time, the past and yes even the future. They allow us to breathe deeply and to preserve our own humanity, our human-ness, our grounding in nature, time, and space.
The park, like the other few spaces available to most of us, must be preserved as it is, must be somehow put legally beyond change, must be allowed to stand, as it is, for many of the values in danger of disappearing around and among us. It offers an alternative to, and relief from, rapid change, radical developments in technology and political struggles. There’s something sacred about it, in the sense that it stands somehow outside or beyond human error, human will, the human hunger for, yes, even “improvements” that make way for the future via the destruction of the past, literally, yes, depriving us of the ground under our feet.
The interesting thing for me, personally, is how the immigrant population in S.B., attuned to parks in Mexico and points south, has made use of the park, adapting to its nature and adapting its aspects to their own needs and uses, making it a point at which and in which Santa Barbarans of all economic and ethnic backgrounds meet and dwell together.
It’s a hole in time, a hole in space, allowing us access to much that might otherwise disappear, and you’d make a grave error in not doing everything you can to protect it as it is.