Teardrop was named for its shape. It’s a small swimming hole, a large bathtub, bored out of sandstone bedrock visually and audibly accented by a waterfall dropping into its emerald water. Like many swimming holes, its depth fluctuates through the years depending on how heavily it rains and if winter storms are strong enough to flush the pool of rocks or too weak and so it fills with sediment. Located on a steep slope of exposed bedrock, which provides plenty of room to lay around basking in the afternoon sun, it’s unshaded by forest canopy throughout the hottest part of the day. (Teardrop is located on private property that is off-limits to the general public without permission from Mr. A.)
The waterfall into Tear Drop.
I lived for a time as a kid not much more than a stone’s throw up the canyon from Teardrop on the old Whitaker property in a Six Pac camper shell with my mom. As one might imagine, it was a humble, nothing fancy time of scant funds and some hardship. I woke more than once in the night to the sound of my mom weeping in the darkness, probably concerned about how to make ends meet and how little she was able to provide for her young son. Yet, as a kid who had few expectations or assumptions about how things should be I didn’t seem to lack much.
There was only one other kid around of my age, an often barefooted boy named Eric who lived with his hippie mom, “Rainbow,” and little sister, Aurora, in a trailer on the other side of a small sloping potrero. He once came to our house wearing nothing but a large bath towel because he apparently had no other clothes.
I didn’t much get along with him, however, and so I spent many hours alone exploring the Los Padres National Forest right outside our aluminum shelled camper door. There was little space inside our “home” for anything other than eating a meal or sleeping so I lived outdoors for the most part during daylight hours.
The point is not to recount some sob story or to say I had it particularly rough, many others had it way worse, but that in such lean times I learned to appreciate the subtle beauty and value of my surroundings, the natural wealth which too often seems to be overlooked by most people.
In combining my imagination with nature the possibilities for fun seemed limitless. I spent a lot of time outside in the mountains discovering in the forest ways to keep me occupied. It was a formative time that helped foster an interest in and appreciation for the Santa Ynez Mountains.