The smoke has started to clear here in Wine Country. My home and farm were not damaged by the wildfires but that seems, to just be by luck or a random change in wind. These wildfires have been devastating, I know many people who lost their home or business and sometimes both. As I talk to friends or strangers in the parking lot the stories we share are similar; waking up in the middle of the night to fire reports, sights of glowing mountain tops, buildings reduce to ash, and the anxiety of waiting to hear more news.
The threat of fire loomed for so many days, I like many was glued to every screen watching the news, listening to the radio, and scrolling through social media to figure out where the fire was and where it might be going. I felt lucky to have time to pack up things before we evacuated.
As a farmer, I have always been humbled by nature, knowing full well that I am not the one in control. But the strength and speed of these wildfires were unbelievable, many people had no warning.
We may not be able to control nature but we can control how we react as humans. Giving back is a great reaction, this of course can involve donating to a nonprofit* but even just being kind to another human being is generosity. So remember be patience with one another, call your loved ones, take time to talk to your neighbor, smile and acknowledge a stranger. We are each a tiny piece of this larger community we call home.
*If you’d like to make a monetary donation check out these organizations:
- Just and Resilient Futures Fund resources from this fund will be provided to victims of fires, especially those suffering losses not covered by insurance or traditional relief services, and to support initiatives that build more just, healthy, and resilient communities and that better prepare us for future catastrophe. With immediate focus on relief funds for those fire victims who were already living on the margins.
- Redwood Credit Union is accepting financial donations to assist fire victims and aid relief efforts. 100% of your tax-deductible donations will go directly to support those affected.
- La Luz Center has the mission to be a catalyst for change in Sonoma Valley through health, education and financial security. During this time of devastation and crisis they are focusing on the following services: ‘disaster unemployment assistance’ as well as ‘individual assistance disaster relief funds’ application assistance, rental assistance referrals, and job placement referrals. They are also providing hot meals and basic need items for families that have been displaced, are without electricity, or need a safe day space.