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Wednesday, November 21 , 2018, 1:03 pm | Mostly Cloudy 65º


Captain’s Log: Turn Reading Into an Outdoor Activity

For a change of pace and scenery, do a little exploring for an ideal spot and immerse yourself in a good book

Where do you read? The living room sofa is a common answer, but to an outdoors person, the sofa is a good place only on a rainy day — and maybe not even then. It’s fun to ponder the possibilities and make reading an outdoors — or semi-outdoors — activity.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

For example, I once made it through several chapters of a book while sitting in my car at the beach during a driving rainstorm. The drumming sound of the rain on the car, the howl of the wind and the crash of the nearby surf combined to drown out everything, allowing me to totally concentrate on that book. It was a great reading experience.

I often have trouble spending much time reading about someone else doing things. I need to get up and out and do things myself. It’s my nature. But that stormy day at the beach was perfect.

I recommend scouting around for outdoor places that seem just right for reading. A part of what makes a spot appropriate is a reader’s own needs. I wouldn’t do well trying to get some reading done at the tables outside of Starbucks, yet I can’t argue with the number of people I see sitting there reading.

Here’s one of my top choices: I like to sit near the water under a bridge over a creek bed and read. I’m about a block or two from home, but it feels like a different world.

Public parks get their share of readers and that makes perfect sense — a large area in a somewhat natural setting, usually with trees and grass. Park benches are not very comfortable for prolonged relaxing, so I recommend bringing a lawn chair. If lugging a lawn chair is not to your liking, try engaging in the grand old hunt for the perfect soft spot next to a tree, at just the right angle to be comfortable sitting and leaning against the tree. I’ve made friends with trees and boulders in this way.

One of my favorite spots for reading is near the end of one of our public piers, such as Goleta Pier. I’ve taken a six-pack-size cooler with some drinks and snacks, and spent good reading time out on the pier. Yes, of course, I had a line in the water while reading, but in the immortal words of my cartoon hero, “Aye am what aye am and that’s all that aye am.”

Here are some more ideas, and I’m sure you can add to the list: patio, porch, poolside (or on a float in the pool), creekside, turnout on a mountain road, mountaintop, tree house, boat, harbor breakwater, library (outside), church grounds, stadium and the Courthouse Sunken Garden.

But here’s my top choice: the shore of Santa Cruz Island.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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