The long journey
For people who donít live through a disaster, thereís a certain attention span. The adrenaline wanes, the massive media attention goes away, and the event becomes an afterthought to a world that originally heard reports of Kenwood and Glen Ellen being destroyed by fire.
Itís on to the next awful thing that everyone will soon forget about. Most of us have probably already forgotten the hurricanes and floods in Texas and Florida earlier this year.
Here at home, ground zero for the awkwardly coined ďWine Country Fires,Ē itís a different scene. The energy surrounding surviving the event, the countless harrowing tales of escaping the flames that literally seemed to be everywhere, slowly morphs into the reality we see around us.
We all will continue to need help through what will surely be a long journey, physically and emotionally. We have to realize right now that we are plodding into a new normal Ė a normal that can be just as good, if not better, but it will involve working together, making that extra effort to reach out to affected neighbors, and maybe even to those who you never knew very well. Itís not those who still have homes, and those who donít. Itís us.
Going around to recent community events reminded us of the deeply ingrained bonds small towns have Ė lots of hugging, smiling, and poignant moments, and, of course, lots of eating and drinking (some things never change, thank goodness).
We need to keep asking ourselves what we can do to keep these bonds from fraying.
Long-term housing is a big need in our communities. A number of people who lost their homes were renters, and we need to try to keep them here. Other people are being forced to move out of rental homes because their landlords lost their own homes and are moving into those spaces. And these renters wonít even get insurance money to help pay for a new apartment or house in an era of skyrocketing rents.
If you need housing, short or long term, or if you have housing to offer, contact local angel Ed Davis in Glen Ellen and let him know what you need, or what you have to rent. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now the holidays are coming up, a period that can be especially difficult for those who have lost their homes. Thanksgiving is a week away. Letís count our blessings and expand our tables.
Recovery from a disaster of these proportions will not happen overnight. Itís going to take years. But life is a journey, not a destination, and this is the journey we are all on right now. Letís take it one day at a time, one step at a time, together.