Jon Weller is among the thousands who have lost homes in the Wine Country fires, and like them he is left to contemplating what's been lost and what remains.
At a recent birthday party for my youngest son, I witnessed a miracle. Eight boys, all active running-around-causing-mayhem kids, were smiling, swimming, playing corn-hole.
In 2005, my in-laws built a house where family and friends could gather and laugh, debate politics, gather 'round the fire. They also built the house for us. We joined in the planning and design, selecting finishes, light fixtures and paint colors. We also lived there, on the second floor, when our boys were toddlers -- a place of rest and solitude.
Many a holiday were spent there. We made crafts in the kitchen, opened presents, and watched A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time. Joy and friendship were the hallmarks of that house.
My kids learned to ride bikes and skateboards, carving endless circles around the garage, racing each other in games of tag. We built a tree fort and I built a raised garden which was eaten each year by pesky deer.