Inspiration found in small scenes of beauty.

Whenever I forget to look closely at the world, I miss the hidden beauty. And the unexpected inspiration.

These photographs were all taken today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

This special garden’s breathtaking beauty has inspired a couple of very short stories. I wrote The Child and the Koi and Waterfall Tears while sitting quietly by the stream that bubbles through the canyon.

I hope these photos–these small scenes of beauty–inspire you, too.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Love and memory: Old Town’s Dia de los Muertos.

Names and a few loving words. Spiritual magic, linking the living with the dead during Dia del Los Muertos.
The names of loved ones. Spiritual bonds link the living with the dead during Dia de los Muertos.

Many generations came together in Old Town this evening during Dia de los Muertos.

Love and memory were written on so many smiling faces as people celebrated their departed loved ones. Chalk memorials and scattered marigolds lined San Diego Avenue. And the evening ended with a candlelight procession from Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to the small El Campo Santo cemetery. A walk of several blocks in the growing darkness . . . a short walk down a road brightly lit by love.

My poor camera failed to capture the candlelight procession as night descended. But your heart and mind might imagine it.

An abundance of music, humor and life on stage during the Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego!
An abundance of music, humor and life on stage during the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego!
People could pose for photos with two giant skeleton puppets!
People could pose for photos with two giant skeleton puppets!
An artist paints two large skulls--calaveras--in Old Town's Plaza de las Armas during Dia de los Muertos.
An artist paints two large skulls–calaveras–in Old Town’s Plaza de las Armas during Dia de los Muertos.
Children decorate traditional sugar skulls.
Children decorate traditional sugar skulls.
Some around the park wore fancy dresses and hats for the day, recreating the iconic Mexican image of La Calavera Catrina. There were many faces painted like fantastic skulls.
Some around the park wore fancy dresses and hats for the day, recreating the iconic Mexican image of La Calavera Catrina. I saw many faces painted like fantastic skulls.
Some of the shops in Old Town had a mix of decorations for both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.
Some of the shops in Old Town had a mix of decorations for both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.
A large, colorful calavera above a restaurant inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A large, colorful calavera above a restaurant inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Face painting and a smile.
Face painting and a youthful smile.
Hundreds of tributes and sentiments for departed loved ones were written with chalk on a long stretch of San Diego Avenue inside the State Historic Park.
Hundreds of tributes and sentiments for departed loved ones were written in chalk on a long stretch of San Diego Avenue, inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Lanterns among the heartfelt Dia de los Muertos chalk memorials.
Lanterns among the many Dia de los Muertos chalk memorials.
Te amo--I love you--and a marigold.
Te amo–I love you–and a marigold.
Love and memory connect generations as the years roll on.
Love and memory connect many generations as the years roll on.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Colorful photos of the Old Town Fall Festival!

A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with fall colors in October.
A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with autumn colors.

After walking a bit downtown, I took the trolley up to Old Town to enjoy the colorful Fall Festival!

I never tire of the wonderful events that can be found almost every weekend at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's Plaza de las Armas.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s central Plaza de las Armas.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with autumn colors.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with fall colors.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good photographs.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Please visit my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!

Mysteries and wonders on a walk in Balboa Park.

I spied this wonder in Balboa Park's Desert Garden. Why yellow?
I spied this natural wonder in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden. Why yellow?

Most of my holiday was spent in Balboa Park. Reading, jotting a few words, walking.

As I turned corners, I encountered many mysteries and wonders.

Who placed a palm frond cross and hearts on a tree in the Desert Garden?
Who placed a palm frond cross and hearts on a bare tree?
What on earth produced this bizarre, hollow, bulging tree trunk?
What on earth produced this bizarre, hollow, bulging tree trunk?
What are those wonderfully odd wicker carts? Those are Electriquettes, which first appeared in Balboa Park during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
What are those wonderfully odd wicker carts? I know! Those are Electriquettes, which first appeared in Balboa Park during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Why is this small sculpture of a child in the Japanese Friendship Garden? Nobody knows. Someone placed it here mysteriously many years ago.
Why is this small sculpture of a child in the Japanese Friendship Garden? Nobody knows. Someone placed it here mysteriously many years ago.
What mysterious turn of the wind arranged this, and why did I turn my eyes to see it?
What mysterious turn of the wind arranged this, and why did I turn my eyes to see it?
Should one exit stage left or stage right?
Should one exit stage left or stage right?
Will seeds planted in Balboa Park by Kate Sessions outlive us all?
Will seeds planted in Balboa Park by Kate Sessions outlive us all?
I spied this rose near a nation's closed cottage. Why is a small flower beautiful?
I happened upon this rose near a closed, locked door. Why is a flower beautiful?
When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?
When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?
Do puppets ever tug their own strings?
Do puppets ever manipulate their own strings?
People gaze into the distance. What do they wonder?
People gaze into the green distance. What do they wonder?
In the courtyard of the House of Hospitality is a Time Capsule Dedicated to the Future of Balboa Park, to be opened in 2035. What waits inside?
In the courtyard of the House of Hospitality is a Time Capsule Dedicated to the Future of Balboa Park, to be opened in 2035. What waits hidden inside?
How many photographs does it take to satisfy a photographer?
How many photographs does it take to satisfy a photographer?
Who gets to open those windows and water those flowers?
Who gets to open those windows, and water those flowers?
Spring and summer vanish. What is in their future?
Spring and summer end. What is in their future?
Why does time move only forward?
Why does time move forward?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun street art found around La Mesa.

Live free like a butterfly. Street art in La Mesa.
Live free like a butterfly. Street art in La Mesa.

I found a lot of fun street art during a random walk around La Mesa. I bounced from color to color like a butterfly, my feet pointed in every direction. I wandered down University Avenue, up La Mesa Boulevard, along Spring Street. Most of the artwork was discovered on sidewalk electrical boxes. These photos are in no particular order.

Butterfly painted on an electrical box.
Butterfly painted on an electrical box.
Street art shows colorful cars.
Street art shows colorful cars.
A lots of mostly happy faces.
A lot of mostly happy faces.
Two giraffes.
Two giraffes.
A panda bear.
A panda bear.
High voltage heart and two roses.
A high voltage heart and two red roses.
The fish tank.
The fish tank. Perhaps it contains an electric eel.
Three fish.
Three fish.
A white goose.
A white goose.
Two owls.
Two owls.
A blue bird.
A blue bird.
Graffiti child on a wall ready to play hopscotch at Coin Haus.
Graffiti child on a wall ready to play hopscotch at Coin Haus.
Exotic mural up high in the alley behind Amethyst Moon.
Exotic mural up high in the alley behind Amethyst Moon.
Koi.
Koi.
An abstract design.
An abstract design.
Butterflies and flowers brighten a La Mesa sidewalk.
More butterflies and flowers brighten a La Mesa sidewalk.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!