Susan Dix Lyons: It's Hard

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Fires are devastating Wine Country and evacuees like Susan Dix Lyons are bearing the brunt of their horror.

This morning, the Glass Fire still threatens our beautiful valley tens of thousands of acres burned.

Each time I check my computer or phone, it's another loss. The elementary school that our children attended when we first moved to Napa Valley destroyed. A neighbor's home. The family winery loved and nurtured by three generations gone. The cat left behind. The hundreds of pleas on Facebook and Twitter as we reach out begging for information on our homes and loved ones. Is it still standing? Can anyone tell me? Are you OK?!

No. No, we're not. We're anxious and sad and raw from praying. We're choking on ash and memories. We're afraid.

Scanning the comments and photos on Facebook it's hard to connect with the optimism and strength that I like to think are rooted within me.


“I broke down crying last night,” one man I know writes. “My parents could really use your help right now,” posts the middle school friend of my son. “My heart is so sad,” writes another.

It feels like too much. But I'm trying. I’m trying to connect to the strength within me. And I know it will come.

I know this because my family and dogs are currently staying in a hotel in Napa, where many other evacuees and some firefighters are staying a community of the displaced. And as we wait in our uncertainty, each encounter reinforces this belief: People are good. Really good. And that certainty has been lifting my broken heart daily.

As someone who serves on the board of an organization that provides mental health services, I know how important emotional support is to our community particularly during this savage year. I'm struck by the data on how many of our friends and neighbors are suffering the rates of depression, addiction, the suicides, the loneliness and isolation. The loss of the world we thought we knew.

Pandemic, wildfires, social unrest it all makes one thing clear: We have to take care of each other. There's nothing that matters more.

So, thank you to our community. To those of you I know as well as those who I pass on the street not yet recognizing as a friend. None of us can do this alone and I’m so glad you’re here.

With a Perspective, I’m Susan Dix Lyons

Susan Dix Lyons lives in Angwin.