During the October 2017 fires in Napa and Sonoma counties, we retreated to Bolinas, a place dear to us, where we met and lived during the 90's. Every sunrise that week was an occasion for hope –– that the winds would die down, that some rain could come, that if winds should flare up again as predicted, they would veer away from St Helena and we and our neighbors would be spared.
In the first image, Venus is visible. It seemed a good sign. Only afterward would we what we never could have imagined was possible. I felt, when I went up to the devastated area in Santa Rosa, on somehow sacred ground and was hesitant to photograph – to make images, beautiful images, of such unbelievable private loss. But the place had a language and I felt wanted to be seen. Orange trees with fruit still on them. Walkways to where there was only a threshold to ruin. Bones of trees, melted cars, snuggled together in driveways of houses collapsed into ash or the odd melted substances that had been walls.
Now that fire is over, and there have been more and will be more and I, for one, have changed. How, exactly, remains to be seen.