Friday, October 16, 2020

For the Love of the Land


It is still hot here, but our latest fire is almost completely contained. The air quality has improved considerably and it is wonderful to be outside again. I did some nature hikes in our beautiful county that showed me once again the loveliness of this place.

Some of you have asked why we are still living here when we know that these fires occur every year and are getting worse. I wonder whether people living in places where hurricanes hit over and over again (and getting worse as well) or who live in Tornado Alley are confronted with these same questions. 

They probably have the same answer as many of us in California have.

In the end it comes down to this: for the love of the land.

These questions are not asked by people who live here. Sure, we talk about it with friends and neighbors, and there are even a few people who actually move away. but most stay, even rebuild in burnt out areas (that is sometimes difficult for me to understand). Whenever there is a fire close by it's the talk of the day. We call each other to see that everybody is safe, we look after our neighbors. We pack our bags. We grab our phones at every "ping" checking for new alerts and warnings. We sleep in our clothes. Yes, it sounds terrible and it sure is no walk on the beach. - But -

This is our home.

Sonoma County is incredible beautiful. We have mountains, wine country, large meadows with sheep and cows, rolling hills, dense forests of century old redwood trees, a rugged wild coast, and of course the vast Pacific Ocean.

There is an abundance of wildlife. When I lie awake in the night (way too often unfortunately) I can hear two Western Screech Owls "talking" to each other; there are foxes barking, the howling of coyotes, the call of the Great Horned Owl and I even once heard the chilling scream of a mountain lion. That is something you hardly forget! On my hikes I can watch deer, skunks, coyotes and bobcats, not to mention all the birds. And I'm pretty sure the mountain lion has seen me!

All of this would be very hard to leave behind and I'm not ready to do that.

There is also this: I am my mother's daughter. My mother lived through the bombing of Berlin. She never thought of leaving the city she loved until she was told to. She would completey understand why we are staying.

The most important reason beside the love for this land is - my friends. I have some wonderful friends here - not many, but these people I can trust. They are the ones with whom I can be open and honest, the "real" me. Those who lend a shoulder and who can lean on me. The ones we can laugh with. 

Friends are so important to me. And at our age it is not that easy anymore to make new friends, to find the people that are our tribe. I have found my tribe. Why would I go away? 

For the time being we're staying. The outcome of the election might make us think about this again. But as terrifying as they are, the fires are not a reason to leave this beautiful part of our planet.

I love Sonoma County. We are Sonoma Strong.



Elephant's Child said...

I so understand.
I understand the fear, the worry, the sleepless nights. And I also understand exactly why you stay.
Thank you for sharing some of the beauty with us.
And a huge hooray for contained fires and fresh air.

Red Rose Alley said...

What wonderful photos these are of our California, especially the ones of the ocean. I'm glad you haven't given up on the state, considering all the fires your area has been having. Yes, having a few close friends makes all the difference. So glad to hear the air quality has improved and you can go outside again. That would be cool to hear the sound of an Owl at night. I've always wanted to see one close up. The pumpkin photo made my heart sing. These are great pictures, Carola, The boat photo was my favorite picture, and should be displayed in a magazine. : )


David M. Gascoigne, said...

When love of place threatens to be the death of you - literally - it's time to move!

My name is Erika. said...

These are gorgeous photos Carole. I understand why you won't leave. I also love that area of California. One of these days I am going to go back and do more exploring. Thanks for such a nice post. I enjoyed your story and photos also. Hugs-Erika

Jeanie said...

I understand exactly why you stay when I see these beautiful photos. And knowing that your friends and community are at hand. I was thinking about you yesterday -- thinking I needed to check in and make sure you were OK. I'm glad to hear it. I hope that this is the last of this season's fires. I know -- it's early. But I hope so.

Susan Kane said...

Thanks for stopping by my site! I enjoyed reading your work, seeing those amazing photos, and will be back.

We live in Murrieta CA, which is on the I 15 north. We too have had too many wildfires over the years. It is impossible to tell about one only. The Temecula Wine Country is about 30 miles down the fwy. Big industry until March. Now reserved tours are allowed.

We have too many natural disasters.

Mae Travels said...

Beautiful words and photos! You really express your love of California so poignantly. Sometimes we wish we had stayed there years ago instead of moving to Michigan, but that was what happened.

be safe ... mae at

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Beautiful. I hope with all my heart that the election results will turn out well and you will never have to contemplate leaving.

Iris Flavia said...

This was a very, very beautiful post, in words as well as in pictures. It really is a wonderful land and friends, real, true friends area treasure, I agree.
I´d probably leave for the fire-season, though...

Susan Kane said...

These are so relaxing to see.

Linda said...

You guys have had way more than your fair share of our state disasters. And is seems like our state has had more than our fair share of the countries disasters. Here's to hoping that 2021 is a far better year.

Stevenson Q said...

Carola these photos are beyond beautiful, they give out so much peace to us viewers! I pray so much for you and for Sonoma. It was my first Mission Church during my California Visit last 2015 so it's very special to me. Plus I got to try some cheeses there as well :) Please stay safe and stay strong!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

The first photo is stunning, Carola, and was my favorite in this post of so many wonderful images. It's so easy to see why you love where you live. That's important, but more so are the friends we make and you are right about how difficult that becomes as we age. Most of my closest friends live in my native NJ and while we keep in contact through calls and letters it's NOT the same as seeing one another, as difficult as that could be these days. Often, it can be difficult for many who haven't lived in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires to understand that residents of those areas return or even refuse to leave in times of danger. But, we each make our own decisions and yours is to remain in an area you obviously love and enjoy and so be it.

DeniseinVA said...

Your photos are very beautiful! I can understand the term “For the Love of the Land” as I remember California well and would probably be there still if my husband had not found a job back East, not too far from where he was born. Thank you for showing us why you choose to stay where you are. It would indeed be very hard to leave, as I found out myself those first few years we moved back east.

Kokopelli said...

Your mom taught you well. My Mom and grandparents are from Berlin, too. And your photos from California are beautiful! Worth to deal with the fires, but some people still won't understand. Stay safe and enjoy this beautiful piece of earth.

Lowcarb team member said...

Your words are beautiful, so are your photographs.

Take care, stay safe and well.

All the best Jan

Barb said...

Dear Carola, You've shown your love of the land in literally the best light! Mony beautiful places on our planet experience natural (and man-made) disasters. Over recent years, our CO landscapes have also experienced drought and devastating wildfires. Five continue to burn right now. Our own forest was so dry that I began to worry that any spark could set a fire that would easily turn our area to tinder. Yet, Bob and I cannot imagine where we would go that would uplift us as much as these mountains and forests that we love. Like you, we've decided to stay as long as we're able to do the work that accompanies living in such a changeable climate. The pink of sunset on your ocean photos is glorious!

Christine E-E said...

Hi Carola... just stopped by to see how you are “faring” during this season of uncertainty. Your pictures are stunning & remind me why we continue to live in California.... the beauty of the coastline, ability to enjoy the outdoors almost year-round, the sounds of nature, BUT most importantly, you have a community of friends.
Due to differences of opinion, my friend pool is slowly declining, but right now, I cannot imagine myself living someplace else. So, I too will remain in California, to enjoy our camping adventures, hikes & beautiful coastline.
Take care,
Christine from Arroyo Grande, CA

Jenny Woolf said...

I have always loved your area ever since I first visited. I can understand why you want to stay.

windrock studio said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos of your beloved home & land! Just keep enjoying it all.