When I was 15, our family moved to the small town of Redwood Valley, north of Ukiah. My mother and sister Yoshi still live in the A-frame house we built there, on a few acres covered with oak and manzanita chaparral, above a valley checkered with vineyards.
On October 9, with the devastating wine country fires igniting across several counties, this rural community was badly hit: nine people were killed, including a teenage brother and sister. More than 300 homes were lost.
Driving through the fire zone for the first time last Sunday, I was struck by the randomness of the destruction. Just across a narrow lane where all the houses were intact, several houses lay burned to their foundations. Survival depended in part on which direction an ember blew. On whether someone happened to be awake after midnight when the fires started. Or whether a neighbor was able to take the time to pound on their door.
The family home lies on the other side of town, a couple miles away from the worst of the fires. My mom and sister could see flames and smoke across the valley, and their car was packed and ready if they needed to evacuate. It was a tense few days for all of us, but they and their home were spared.
news of wildfire
the backyard maple
So this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for the blessings of home and family. And to all the firefighters, cleanup crews and other people working to restore some semblance of normal life for those affected by the disaster. And I’m even thankful for the pouring rain, knowing it is helping the burnt areas to regrow.
the window propped open
to the scent of rain
Here’s wishing all the best to you and yours this Thanksgiving.
Makino Studios News
Holiday fairs: Makino Studios will be at two fairs in December: the Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival, December 1-3 at Redwood Acres in Eureka, and the City of Arcata’s Holiday Craft Market, December 9-10 in the Arcata Community Center. In addition, some of my work is for sale at the “Made in Humboldt” event at Pierson Garden Shop now through December 24.
Boxed notecards: In response to customer requests, I am now offering five kinds of boxed notecards in my Etsy shop: two holiday designs, a thank you card, a landscape series and a floral series.
Art prints: A trail through giant redwoods and a country road are among the new print designs available for sale in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. These are 11×14, individually signed and stamped in red with my name seal, and ready to give as a gift or frame for yourself.
2018 calendars: My mini-calendar of art and haiku is available online and in local stores. These make great holiday gifts!
December 15 is your last chance to order: I will be on vacation after that and Makino Studios will be closed for business until Dec. 27.
An earlier version of the haiku “dusk settling” was published in Inhaling: 2016 Seabeck Haiku Getaway Anthology, Haiku Northwest, 2017.