Home for the Holidays
“Never think of a homemaker or housewife as ‘lowly.’ It means there is someone, who really cares, in charge of the best place in the world – home.”
– Carolyn Jane Arnold Barto
This quote from Oakmont resident Carolyn Barto comes from her obituary, which ran in the Sept. 15 issue of the Kenwood Press. It really stuck with us at the time, and has become especially poignant in light of the devastating fires only a few weeks later.
Even without the huge, collective trauma we’ve all been through, home holds a special significance this time of year. Some of us are fortunate enough to have warm, loving homes to go to, where family welcomes us in. Some of us are the ones opening the front door to friends and relatives. And some of us go home for Christmas… “only in our dreams.”
It will be a long time before all the burned-out properties are cleared and homes are rebuilt. It could be several years. And it will take even longer for us to feel like things are completely back to “normal,” whatever normal is.
The only thing that is constant is change, and we’re already seeing signs of change and even renewal. Rains have brought green grass to hillsides and ruins alike. Walking the burned out roads, you can see the topography of the land, the creeks and drainages, a knoll where someone chose a building site many years ago. It’s a good time to reevaluate what we need, what we can do better, and what we can do without.
Maybe the next time around we plant drought-tolerant cacti and succulents rather than those roses and hydrangeas that deer find irresistible. Maybe we install a beautiful, low, split-rail fence rather than a tall, wire one. Or how about no fence at all? Maybe this time around we learn to coexist with the other creatures that also make Sonoma Valley their home. Maybe we learn to live with nature rather than trying to force our vision onto a resistant landscape. Because as we now know, Mother Nature always has the last word.
It’s so nice to see all the Christmas lights on the houses, trees, and fences. As we approach the winter solstice and the darkest time of the year, these decorations are a welcome sign of optimism and resilience. Here at the Kenwood Shopping Center, the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau installed lights on the buildings and wrapped the trees in the parking lot with thousands of white lights – it all just cheers us up, so thank you, everyone!
This is our last issue of the year, and we don’t publish a January 1st issue, so we take this opportunity to wish you all Happy Festive Merry Hanukkah Kwanzaa Christmas... and a Happy New Year!
Whether your home is a mansion on a hill or a bungalow in town, a nest in a tree or a hole in the ground, may this season find you somewhere warm, safe, and surrounded by love.
– Ann and Alec