I am a Native Californian. The first of my ancestors to settle here, came from Wisconsin, following the lure of the call West, about 1850. Several years ago, He and I drove to Foresthill, to investigate whatever could be found out about where William settled. I fell in the door of the little public library, of that village perched high on a hill, and, OF COURSE, the librarian pulled out all of the stops for me, even giving me the phone number of the family who owned the land in Yankee Jim’s where my great grandfather was most likely buried. My great grandmother came later, with her sister, and started a family with a pile of kids, as was the way, back in the day. Roots.
I like to tell about this connection, lest people take me and Him (his came to Amador County, from Serbia) for nothing more than out of touch “Flatlanders” who came back to the foothills to retire. My grandfather brought the family down to Oakland, when the gold played out, and the same thing happened to Rod’s widowed Serbian Baba, who had run a boarding house for miners. There is a pattern. We were born and educated in a diverse city, at a time of upheaval, but understand what our old friends say about life as an Other. I lavish prayers and White Light over every picture of their families, for protection, but know, now that it has become OK to be hateful, my privilege is that, if we are in our truck, we can Pass. In the Mini, with the logo magnets, we get those stares that mark us as Outsiders. 13 years but still Different, although still Pilgrim White.
I write this stuff because I was born in the City, to people in The Arts and grew up with all of that in my life. I miss it but it is who I am, now, living so far from what to be a safe place for a kid to walk alone; San Francisco. Here, I witness what shocks me, on a regular basis, because while there are a lot of us retired aged people in the foothills, now that corporate life no longer requires His Commute, we are surrounded by folk who are great supporters of the hateful rhetoric coming out of DJT and that makes me so very sad. Perhaps they would have a different view of things, if their world was broadened. I just don’t know.
When I saw an ad, this morning, using our president’s own words, as he was telling FEMA to blow off California because we are not fans of his, it blew my mind. The majority of folks burned out of “affordable” housing in the fires have more than likely voted with an R all of their lives. These are my neighbors and generation and I just can’t understand how all of this was allowed to unfold. He intimates that California is burning because we fail to sweep the forest floor. The vast majority of that forest is owned by all of us, you know, NATIONAL FOREST. I will admit that on probably half of our land, we could spend another fortune to clear more dead branches and snags up the hill, but this is how we live.
We need help doing this stuff, now, and so, in the late Spring, we have a crew come in. Not everyone can afford this, but more people are helping their neighbors get out from behind a wall of shrubs. It is just safer and yes, there is a loss of privacy but this is how things have to look, now. The Feds are not holding up THEIR end of the bargain to all of us in the west who live near the overgrown and mismanaged forests. It is a fight between the clear cut foresters and the stubborn environmentalists, both of whom have a clear agenda. As with our politics, now, we need to step out of our barbed wire corners and compromise, for the Greater Good. At least, that is how Teejay and I feel. We all need to be better stewards of the land, whether private or public. Rant over. 😘