Beautifully written piece, Ami. Achingly felt and so very resonating. I've felt that same thing when earthquakes happen or when 9/11 happened; how intensely we all connected in those moments of extremes and yet, in our day to day lives, don't take the time. I think it has less to do with carelessness or lack of interest than a sense of "I'll get around to it later." That taking-for-granted notion that keeps us from acting NOW.
What your article underscores is the unpredictability of life that can swoop in take away the "later" you were relying on. Sometimes, without notice, "later" disappears and the loss of it makes us realize how important it is to act NOW. Connect NOW.
Thank you for your beautifully put reminder to pay attention and act on life as it is in the moment. One never knows when a house may burn down...
Having lived in Hollywood and watched that city dismiss the aesthetic of many of its architectural and historic gems in lieu of cold, modern buildings that were functional but completely lacking in character or curb appeal, I'm always amazed when a city is blind to the value of its own historical preservation.
Function over form may appear useful, but ultimately it ends up destroying the very things - often places and historical structures - that contribute to the uniqueness of a town, homogenizing it and diminishing its "brand."
I know this Stewart Street neighborhood, I've marveled at the visual whimsy and charm of the conical tank, and just shake my head at hearing of its destruction, agreeing with Mr. Brackenbury that choosing to replace it with "uninspired, easy to build, soul-killing edifices" is tragically lacking in imagination. Much as Ferndale finally realized years ago that saving its Victorians lent the town value, so should Fortuna realize the same about its historic structures. Is it too late for this one?
And while we're at it, here's a link to a trailer for a new documentary coming called "Windfall, the Movie," a frank, very sobering film about the unexpected and irrevocable and, unfortunately, negative impact wind farms have had in some local, rural communities. Take a look and see if you can get beyond cliches, knee-jerk reactions, and hollow accusations. There's a bigger picture here than many of you might realize:
Environmental improvements and green energy are essential to the evolution of our planet, that's clear. We need to wean ourselves away from fossil fuels and energy sources that are finite and politically complex; that is also true. But those very necessary efforts and noble mission statements cannot come at the "either/or" expense of destroying homes and viable, historical businesses merely for the transportation needs of the well-intended project! That is not only counter-productive to the spirit of environmental responsibility, but it is public relations madness!
Ferndale, CA is a small, very unique town whose entire "hook," if you will, is its beautifully preserved and lovingly maintained "Victorian Village." Small streets with picturesque vintage buildings, historic hotels and storefronts, all cared for by its townsfolk and enthusiastically visited by thousands of tourists who enjoy the old-time ambiance and rural charm of this town on the Historic Registry. It is not a generic, monochromatic "freeway town" whose loss would hardly be noticed. It is one of the gems of Humboldt County and, as such, engenders much passion and protection from its citizens.
So tell me, how does it make public relations sense for Shell Oil to even hint at the possibility of using Ferndale as its "road in" to this monstrosity of a project, particularly when the use of that fragile route would erode the Ferndale’s byways, the foundations and historic buildings by virtue of the tons and tons of trucks marauding through there many times a day? And even worse, how does it justify, even the suggestion of destroying one of the oldest and most beloved establishments in town (the Hotel Ivanhoe) and destabilizing the peace of mind of homeowners such as Nancy Trujillo whose home is threatened with destruction? How does Nancy sleep at night imagining the devaluation or loss of her home? I am outraged for her and for any of the others who will now have to live for months before all these “hints” are either enacted or dismissed.
We cannot, in our effort to take advantage of wind energy or any other admirable form of ecologically sound energy, sacrifice entire towns, businesses and deeply valued environments. And we’re not talking about a project that will actually be IN Ferndale; we’re talking about sacrificing Ferndale so the project can simply drive THROUGH there! Madness. There simply has to be another way. And, Shell Oil, it's your job to figure it out and until you do, you will not have the support of even environmentally conscious people who support the intent, but refuse to accept the Solomon's Choice you have proposed. There has to be another way...
Seriously, only a true artist could find poetry in the face of a landslide.
And though I know your bio is intended to squeeze in as much in as few words, I hope it's not just the friendship of your Fortuna neighbors you love...:)
From one of your more distant fans!!
This writer is simply brilliant. I love that you've included several of his poems over the many months I've been reading your paper. I'm only a part-time Humboldt resident and I always feel like I'm getting the sweetest, most perfect glimpse of my favorite northern California getaway when he writes about his thoughts, experiences and feelings from his perch up there!
Excellent work and I hope you'll continue to publish him. A collection, maybe?
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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