Into the unknown
We’re back in Kenwood, back in the office, listening once again to fire stories. As in 2017, telling our stories is a form of group therapy. Whether you lost your home, had fire and smoke damage, or just had to flee in the middle of the night, you’ve been through a traumatic experience.
People who lost their homes have told us that talking to others who have been through the same experience can be very helpful.
We have not “been through it” ourselves, but we’re in a privileged position to hear from many of you first-hand, either in person here at the office, by phone, or sometimes at the scene of destruction. It’s painful, but it’s also an honor when you let us record your story in the pages of the Kenwood Press. That’s primary source material for future historians and part of the historical record.
To say things are changing is an understatement. They’ve been changing for three years now, and COVID and new fires have only sped it up. People move out of the area. Businesses close. We were so sad to hear that Café Citti is relocating to Santa Rosa – see Business Beat on page 9. Café Citti is the reason some of us decided to move to Kenwood in the first place. Back in the early ‘90s when Kenwood was more a country town and less a weekend place for city folks, Café Citti was the place where you could sit on the patio with a glass of Chianti and a plate of Luca’s Ravioli in special Citti sauce and feel like you were in an Italian village. And for those of us who work in “downtown Kenwood,” Café Citti was the office lunchroom. You saw everyone there, and often could conduct a little business over your linguini AOP. We’re going to miss that!
However, while people leave, others move in. This is a time of possibilities. Just look at what’s happened since the lock-down in March. Real estate agents tell us that home sales went through the roof with people from urban areas looking for a place where they could get outside and spread out. And with many of us working from home, maybe some of those people will decide to make Kenwood their permanent address. It will be interesting to watch in the coming years.
So this is a time when anything can, and probably will, happen. From the fires, the smoke, the diaspora, to the eventual renewal, rebirth, rebuilding, repatriating, this is our moment to live through. Our town is a bit like the mountains around us. Some burned areas will come back quickly and be more beautiful than before, like the grasslands that with the spring rains will be as green as Ireland and filled with wildflowers. Some areas will take longer and need a lot of tending, and some, like the dead trees on the mountainsides, will never come back, but eventually will decompose and feed new growth. People you love will move away, but people you don’t even know yet will move in and maybe become lifelong friends. You never know…