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As more wildfires rage in Northern California, Marilyn Englander sees the energy of resilient people in already devastated communities.

My husband and I drove to wine country before Fourth of July for a getaway to leafy back roads, golden countryside.

As we headed inland from the misty, dreamy Sonoma coast, the radio updated us on the Pawnee and County Fires, relentlessly scorching Yolo and Lake Counties. A gloom of smoke hung over the eastern hills but under sunny skies near Santa Rosa we passed fences draped with festive bunting and signs announcing small town picnics.

We climbed Mark West Springs Road. Lines of cement trucks, construction pickups and dump trucks hauling rock were grinding along the twisty road. To every side dozers growled over burnt hillsides, leveling, back-filling. I glanced up forlorn driveways that led to small forests of pink and yellow construction flags fluttering in the wind, a bustle of rebuilding where only nine months ago wildfire roared through. Such optimism and industry in the aftermath of desolation.

We are irrepressible. Like someone working through a third divorce yet planning a new wedding, we believe in getting it right --- this time. Brave souls in Napa and Sonoma toil and sweat to raise new houses on the blackened ghost lots where the Tubbs Fire raged.


It was July 4th. Celebration filled the air. Every town was hosting a parade and 
fireworks. Meanwhile red hoser trucks stood lined up ready at fire stations along the highway, monitoring the more gigantic fire shows exploding just a couple of ridges away.

Even minimal winter rains have transformed the rough firebreaks gouging the hills over Calistoga. They’re camouflaged in froths of bright greens. Swirling patchworks of vineyards create lush carpets over the valley floor. The air smells clean. Summer here is paradise.

It could happen again. Yet, in spite of that, I understand. Who could resist wanting to live in such a wildly beautiful place?

Blindly optimistic, industrious, illogical humans that we are -- we just never give up.

With a Perspective, I’m Mariliyn Englander.

Marilyn Englander is a North Bay educator.