I am still in shock after seeing the devastation caused by the October fires in Santa Rosa. And what I saw was almost five months later, after cleanup was well underway. The cruel, capricious path of the fire driven by hurricane force winds was unfathomable. In some places a building burned to the ground and those around it still stood, barely singed. Some of the neighborhoods I saw were completely destroyed. Despite the annihilation of entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa, signs of hope and reassurance were everywhere. Clean-up is progressing with most lots in the areas we saw cleared and scraped of debris and toxins. Spring grasses cover charred fields. In a couple of instances, rebuilding has actually begun.
Everywhere we looked, hanging from charred trees and shrubs and affixed to rusted fences, we saw small wooden stars painted with words of encouragement. One of Honora’s friends who lost her home to the fire had stopped by to sift through the ashes when a stranger approached to hang a Star of Hope on what was left of her fire-ravaged property. The small gesture of kindness and caring drove her to tears and gave her hope that the nightmare would eventually end. The stars, painted by survivors of other tragedies, began to appear in the area in December. Read more about the Stars of Hope here.