The shock and disbelief of the last three weeks, I wish I could say I’ve quelled it with a sensible recount. I haven’t. There has been no similarity of an answer to the “What the hell?”. There is no believing that what has happened, really did. Although my eyes prove to me that it did, in just one look my heart bears an ache and heaviness. I have no understanding of this. Nothing that makes sense. I can find comparisons that when I verbalize them, they seem shameful to make the match. But I cannot come up with anything that settles my very unsettled heart.
I love Mother Earth and the beauty she has blessed me with here in California. I have loved my beautiful Napa Valley, so much so that when all of my High School peers left over the last 25 years and my family scattered in between, it took just a short, peaceful drive in my Valley to convince me there was no other place I could find as beautiful. She is my heaven. And she has been violated. While I stood and watched, surely helpless. How does the force of Nature that breathes such life into this place, pillage and maim with such ease? How does she take, and take, and take from her inhabitants? From families? Families with CHILDREN? Children with Grandparents for f** sake?? I thought we were in this together, Mother Nature and our community. By some folklore, the word ‘Napa’ itself makes reference to home, motherland. All of this meant nothing on October 8th.
I have spent the last three weeks vacillating between rage and numbness. I want to fight back with the force and audible levels in shouting that She exercised that evening and remaining two weeks. I want to shut off, go to bed and figure out how to stop crying for my community. I want to help EVERY single one, in my Valley and my sister Valley. They both have held me, my life-long friends, my family…MY community for 46 years. And I feel helpless in making this right. In giving back to all who have been taken from. In bringing back the lost history. In finding the fur babies, both domestic and in their natural habitat. I want to bring back the friends I never met and I want to meet them. I can do none of this.
I can feel. This I know. This I have been doing insurmountable amounts of. I have felt the fear of the survivors. I have felt the overwhelm of love this home of mine is made of. I have felt the angst of where my and thousands of others’ next paycheck is to come from. I have felt the sadness of the ‘harvest smell’ being replaced by the putrid reminder of what we’ve been put through. I have felt the desperation of hoping all of the beloved folks that find us peaceful, beautiful and ‘impossible to be unhappy’ in our beautiful Valley, that they don’t give up on us. I have felt what I imagine it must be to lose E V E R Y T H I N G…and this I cannot. I just cry when I even begin to fathom. I cannot at all, imagine the disbelief, the anger, the stress, the dreams that rehash, the shock, the deep and unsoothable sadness that may never truly be shifted.
I think of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. History, psychology, research, et al, they offer us these almost affirmations to remind us that we are going through grief or in this case a traumatic loss. But having these measuring sticks, well they don’t really remove the harsh reality that everything we know has changed. They guide us to understand what name we can give how we are experiencing the shock, disbelief, the vindication and deep sorrow we feel. But the influence of the whole of the event, well it will painfully remain while and after we find our new ‘normal’.
It is early and all still very fresh. I don’t even have a clue when I won’t call this early and fresh. Today, it feels as though I will always need more time to accept what is, what has been done to my community. I know time is the all-giving healer. I have lived long enough to know the intensity will diminish. I am a small blip in the overall population of my community and our sister community that’s been harmed. YOU all, are not. You are my community. You are my sister Valley, that housed so many of my school field trips, never again to be had…my dear beloved Stornetta’s Dairy… You are my friends and my strangers-to-be-friends. I care for each of you and if the power were mine, I would give you back what you have lost. I offer you relief and comfort at this time, from my tiny little space on the planet we share. I am here for you. I can offer you what I have and you can ask for more. I can share my resources, my ears and the full capacity of my heart.
I would like to give to you an opportunity to unravel, unload or ‘un-hold-onto’ all of this. A space to give form to the swirling minutia of messiness this has become. When you are ready, and not before. I believe and have research citings for the positive effects on your and my health when we get this sh** out of our being and onto a simple piece of paper. The stress of disassociating or not unloading may only bring compounded effects, which it would be nice right now to not have to add to the heap. I have two physical spaces I am settling in on dates, for being present with you and any of our tribe in need of support: one in Sonoma/Cotati area and the other in Napa. I am continuing to seek space for the Santa Rosa area if enough make the request, along with Calistoga if it seems the need is there. This space will be a safety net, with room to speak freely or not at all, sans all judgment. There will be an event posted on fb at my WriteOn! Journaling page, within a couple of days. I will offer a series of Journaling and expressive writing opportunities, to keep this mess from setting up camp within the still-beautiful interior landscapes of our souls and physical beings. The writing sessions are intended to be for you, from me. All are welcome at absolutely no cost. They will be following in the path of trauma writing and research done at the University of Texas with Dr. James Pennebaker. There are only 4 sessions, but I plan to continue beyond if even one person feels compelled to continue to get this out on paper. I am a certified facilitator of Kay Adam’s ‘Journal to the Self’ and have worked with individuals and groups alike, in leading each to their inner wisdom and help, just by way of the pen. I do this as my gift and as a person who’s experienced the effects of writing to know what my heart needs to say.
May you find one tiny ray of sunshine today, and another one when you are ready.