I decided to sleep inside that night and awoke that Monday to texts of “are you okay?” Never a good sign. The wildfire that started in the hills on the other side of Napa had leapt across the valley to ignite again near Santa Rosa and above my town of Sonoma. Tens of thousands of acres soon burned. One stray ember turned a season’s buildup of dry underbrush into an immense blaze.
It has been a chaotic week. The blaze that leapt across the Napa Valley soon crested the hill between Napa and Sonoma and spread to within several hundred feet of my house. A raging wildfire, just a block from my home. Firefighters from multiple counties and states poured in with engines and huge dozers. The intersection nearest to my home made a fiery appearance on ABC7 News and my parents were forced to evacuate our home.
Fortunately, I happened to have scheduled a trip to New York City for Pilates, Gyrotonic, Alexander Technique, as well as visiting my brother in Manhattan, for the same day the evacuation orders came.
As soon as I landed at Newark, I learned my parents were packing up the house and within a minute of de-boarding I was directing my mom to pack my hard drives and my notebooks. What items did I really need? Which did I want? Which were OK to let burn, in case it came to that? These were not typical questions. The helplessness you feel under the threat of Nature’s power is humbling.
It was sheer luck that our home happened to be far enough away to be spared. It was also simply luck that I scheduled a trip during this time. I would have been very little help in hauling bags out to the cars, and the air, for once, was much cleaner in New York.
I’m so thankful my family is safe, that our home is where it is and not a single block farther east, that I just happened to be across the country when we were evacuated, that firefighters have been able to do what they have to control the blaze around the North Bay.