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News: 11/01/2017

Woman offers wildfire gardens for survivors



Erica Tom, Director of Arts & Education at Belos Cavalos, a nonprofit horse farm in Kenwood that provides no-cost trauma recovery work to at-risk and foster children in Sonoma County, has figured out a way to give back a little bit of beauty to people who lost their homes in the fires, including her parents, who lost their Fountaingrove home. She takes keepsakes found amid the ashes and incorporates them into tiny “wildfire gardens.”

“These little wildfire gardens for survivors are meant to be small offerings of grieving, healing, and reclamation,” said Tom.

In sifting through the ashes of her parents’ home, she found many important keepsakes: her father’s scissors that he used to cut her umbilical cord, her grandmother’s pie serving spoon, her aunt’s homemade mug, her mother’s special pin, her brother’s Chinese foo dog, her cigar box for storing photographs, and her lucky horse shoe. She took these objects and created little gardens in shallow pots, incorporating succulents, soil, and votive candles, with the keepsakes scattered throughout. Tom said it’s “a way to also reclaim fire, strike a healing light in our hearts.”

Tom would like to share her healing process by creating wildfire gardens for anyone in the community who has lost a home. She will come to your home site or wherever you are now with the supplies. You can help design the garden, or you can let her do it for you. If you’d like to help, you can donate shallow pots, ceramic bowls, candles, succulents and soil, or funds for her to purchase these items. Contact her at 486-3490, or erica.c.tom@gmail.com.


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