You’ve probably seen the news regarding the Northern California wildfires. I’ve been glued to my phone for the past few days hitting refresh on google news hoping to read the fires have been contained. Death cab for Cutie’s lyrics have always resonated with me, but I never thought I’d be listening to the song “Grapevine Fires” only to interpret each lyric so literally. It’s sick because the song came on as I was driving to class this morning and it felt like an intentional reminder from the universe. Northern California was already in my thoughts but the song was eerily relevant.
For those of you who don’t know, Napa Valley has a special place in my heart. My Dad, baby brother and sister and Aunt & Uncle along with numerous family friends call the town of Calistoga home. Over the years I have visited Calistoga for days, weeks and even months at a time. Though I’ve never been a permeant California resident I have come to consider Calistoga my second home. I recognize friendly faces at the small local coffee shop. I know where to get the best brunch and the best route to run through town. I’ve smiled and waved at the same crossing guard who helps make sure kids get to school safely day after day and I’ve rode bikes out by the vineyards. Looking at news headlines and images of places I’ve eaten, shopped and sipped wine burnt to a crisp is haunting. I am praying for the beautiful little town I’ve come to think of as home to be spared. I’m hoping with every fiber of my being that my families homes are saved. My heart breaks for northern California.
Luckily, my family and family friends evacuated early Wednesday morning. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for families to flee their homes unsure if they will ever be able to return to their same cozy bed. I can’t imagine the pain of losing the place you expect to keep you safe, the place that holds so many memories, the place you thought would always be your refuge. I am so grateful that my family is safely out of Napa Valley! The disaster has been an important reminder that our loved ones are the most important thing in life.
My heart goes out beyond Calistoga, to the families in Santa Rosa and Petaluma, to the firefighters and first responders, to the people who have lost loved ones, pets, their homes, and their sense of security. I know so many people have donated to help with disaster relief efforts throughout the country recently but I want to urge anyone who can to donate and help the families affected by the wildfires. It is so important to help where you can, however you can. Everyone is in a different place financially but a donation of just $5 can make a difference, all of those little donations add up!
Where to Donate?:
- This article and this article provide a list of organizations helping with the fires.
- GoFundMe is filled with campaigns for families affected by the fire looking to rebuild their lives.
- If you are unsure where to start but want to help I personally recommend the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund (helps all counties affected by the fires) and the Napa Valley Community Foundation (specifically targeted to assist Napa Valley).
I am truly at a loss for words. I’m not sure anything I could say would adequately describe the sadness I feel for the region so close to my heart. If you or your loved ones were affected in any way please know my thoughts are with you and you have my deepest and most sincere condolences.