Sonoma Valley Fire Diaries: 10/11/17 (Air)
I spent Thanksgiving night among friends. We laughed, drank and ate, but then one new friend insisted we stop and share what we were grateful for. I was moved when the theme around the table was the Sonoma Valley Fire: gratitude towards the survival of homes and families, the simple luxuries of doing laundry and cleaning the floor, the chance for those who lost everything to start over, and the budding green in the ash of black. We are bonded indefinitely because of this life-changing event that shattered our perception of what we considered "stability".
I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving, no matter how you spent it. Did you take time to share or think about what you are grateful for? Even if you didn't, perhaps take a moment now. What are you truly grateful for? What gives you drive and your life meaning? Share below!
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
It's hard to explain the feeling of being tired and amped up at the same time. Maybe it's a bit like staying up late preparing for an important test or presentation the following day while revved up on caffeine, but I suppose you have to experience this for yourself to truly know (although I would never wish that upon anyone!). That's how Day 3 felt to me. I got little sleep and woke abruptly remembering what was going on and checked Facebook and the text messaging service immediately for updates.
My best friend left at sun break to Santa Cruz as the fires were spreading. I decided to stay behind, but only until I saw the bleakness of Sonoma. My friends and I decided our displacement would be much longer than the 2-3 days we once naively thought, so we headed to Sonoma to gather more belongings.
As we approached Sonoma, my heart and jaw fell: fog-like smoke settled upon our valley in an eerie, hazy grey-orange. You could see plumes of smoke in the distance stemming from the mountains and emergency vehicles were everywhere. We made it into town pushing through traffic and thicker smoke. I gathered my belongings, and in a panic, through flammables into my dryer. I had read that it was helpful to take drapery down and leave a light on for Fire Workers so I did just that. This time, I had the opportunity to gather just enough of what I needed (a surprising small amount) and told my apartment "Thank You" and "Good Bye". I know it sounds silly, but I wanted to have closure with my belongings and housing in case it were to never be seen again.
As I stood outside with my suitcase waiting for my friends to retrieve me, I watched as my neighbors drove by in packed cars and masks over their faces. I am normally a rebel, but as ash rained down and the tightness around my chest increased, I donned my own mask. People stared at me as I stood waiting and I stared back wondering where they were headed.
Air is invaluable. We don't see it and so we tend to take it for granted. I am so grateful for breathable air.
I'm grateful for clean and fresh AIR.
Day 3 Update:
Waking up with stomach in knots. The fire is getting closer to Boyes Hot Springs and Sonoma. Here is a map of hot spots and the pink area is deemed as an emergency area. For now my subdivision is ok and there have been reports from someone who lives atop Mountain Ave that the fire is much further than appears. Wind is the telling factor right now. It’s said gusts may pick up tonight or tomorrow but I keep praying not. The picture below was taken at 715p in BHS of the Eastern Slope. My neighbors on property have left as are others. Critical decisions are being made about animals and belongings. Agua Caliente was urged to be ready for evac. It seems a bit clearer here in Petaluma and it still seems we are secure. Many folks are wearing masks due to terrible air quality. My work was cancelled again and is located on the Eastern part of Sonoma. I've been going on small hikes at night and can’t see any fires or glows. My friends who are unaffected in Santa Rosa remain so. Shelters have filled and evacuees are encouraged to drive further South to Marin. Abbie Coe and I are weighing on going to our respective homes (AL/TX). I haven’t heard other updates on SDC so if you have one that would be appreciated. I know clients are safe at locations in Sonoma at moment with amazing staff. It feels surreal to watch the fire go down 12 and peek over the mountain from Sonoma. I hope everyone finds safety and continues to take care of one another.
Leaving Sonoma after coming back to gather some things. Some pics. (Click to EXPAND Slideshow)
Instagram Post @ Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk:
@acoe10 and I jetted. We found a bit of heaven in what feels like hell. My heart is swollen with what has happened and what is to come. I can finally breathe here and it feels soothing to be next to water with Nilla. My prayers to everyone who is and will be affected by this fire. My neighborhood is on advisory evacuation now. I got to say a potential goodbye to all my things that I realize are only a reflection of me and do not make me who I am. Thank you for all those in my life who are being supportive. The state of CA is experiencing much trauma but will heal in time with your help and support. #trauma #california #californiacoast #californiafires #tubbsfire #fire#thankafirefighter #grateful #beach #ocean #peace #support #pray#betogether