Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A New Year Burns Everlasting

For many reasons, people want to see an end to 2017.  Here in Northern California, in our beloved wine country, it was an unforgettable year.  Trauma, devastation, near misses, great loss, a bounty of human kindness and a plethora of images and words told by some of the greatest storytellers. 

I've been following the stories of friends and strangers via the internet, social media and in my friend circles.  I asked one author, Nathaniel R. Winters, if I could share his journaled stories.  You'll find them below.  If you have your own stories to share, please do so in the comments.  If you like what you've read here, you may find more of Winters' work here:  Nathaniel Robert Winters

So many want to close this year out and begin anew with hope, strength and the help of others.  The outpouring has been spectacular, but let us not forget that we still need to give our money and more importantly our time.  Please give a thought to the victims of these fires as we move into the new year. 

Battle Lines

Yesterday we drove up the Napa Valley headed back to St Helena after a five day evacuation from smoke and fire. But arriving at Oakville we discovered the fire was coming over the ridge tops and backing down the mountains towards our homes. Two choppers were filling up water and dumping on the flames. Two large fixed wing aircraft were also attacking with retardant.

The battle goes on. The winds calmed down and the powers that be believe we are safe. I hope they are right. 

This morning I masked up and took Rue for a walk, watching the two choppers continue the fight. I flashed back to other another battle line reminding me of Nam. Thursday the weather men are forecasting rain, the first winter wet down after our usual summer drought.

It would appears some prayers are about to be answered. "They" say there are no atheists in foxholes...This not quite kosher guy is not so sure about prayer but it couldn’t hurt.

From Hell

Flames surround us

here in Saint Helena
north in Calistoga and over
the redwood pass in Santa Rosa
Flames surrounds us
south in the vineyard hills above Napa
southwest in the Valley of the Moon
smoke is suffocating thick as syrup
Flames surround us
the land I love my Eden is on fire
Should we stay or should we go?
Electric power, phones, internet is out

Flames from hell surrounds us
We pack one car—leave the other
What to take--what to leave?
Whatever—we flee to San Francisco

Mother Nature's Plan

Fires in the Redwood Empire
are as natural as fog on S.F. Bay.
Pacific high pressure plants
over Nor-Cal sending storms away,
causing summer drought.
Vegetation dries out
just waiting for a spark.
Flames explode burning
dry grasses and low timber.
Redwoods, evolved in this clime,
with thick smoldering bark
and green needle crowns
in the heavens above fiery hells,
survive and turn fog into raindrops
quenching big trees thirst.
Autumn comes and high pressure
moves south for the winter
like snowbirds to Florida.
Rain returns, redwood cones
opened by summer inferno
drop seeds, baby redwoods
grow in the ashes.
Brown and scarred black hills,
magically turn green.
Deer prance and mountain lions stroll
coyotes howl, and life goes on...

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